Tourist Arrivals Take Major Hit after Lightning Strike Hampers Air Traffic Control

Special Adviser to the Tourism Minister, Delano Seivright, says there’s been a near 50-percent decline in tourists arrivals at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston over the weekend.

The losses have been attributed to damage to air traffic equipment and bad weather over the past week. At the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, St. James, he says there’s been a 20-percent decline.

Scores of tourists were among those whose flights were canceled after lightning damaged air traffic control equipment at Norman Manley last Friday.

Mr. Seiveright says flight cancellations, as a result of Hurricane Irma, contributed to the decline.

Mr. Seivright says most of the flights affected were from European countries like Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Portugal.

He says normality in tourist arrivals should resume by the end of the week as authorities continue work to fix the problems at the airport.

He says the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority, JCAA, should address the damage to air traffic equipment at a post-cabinet press briefing tomorrow.

In the meantime, Opposition Spokesman on Transport, Mikael Phillips, says the damage to air traffic equipment on Friday has affected more than the tourism sector.

Mr. Phillips says there seems to be ‘deep-rooted problems’ in the system which deals with air traffic. He’s questioning whether a back-up system was also damaged during the lightning strike.