Officials deny protest at the V.C. Bird Int’l Airport


Operations at the V.C Bird International airport were significantly slowed last night.

There were reports of protest action taken due to these delays. Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Civil Aviation Edson Joseph refutes these reports, however, saying that there was no such protest or industrial action.

New measures have been put in place to control the flow of aircraft traffic at the airport.  Joseph said that these changes came about because of “passenger safety concerns”.

“However,” the Permanent Secretary went on to say that it not a rigid structure that has been recently been put in place, but rather one that, “Can be flexible from day to day.”

Some airline officials encountered several vexing delays while attempting to land at the V.C. Bird airport on Sunday.

These officials expressed frustration about ‘flow control’ measures that significantly hampered flight arrivals by up to 20 minutes.

The permanent secretary indicated that some of the equipment used to carry out their work is slowing down operations at the airport.

“Because there is no radar, the air traffic controllers are not able to to see the actual aircraft in the airspace,” said Joseph.

“So, the mechanisms that they are using in order to be safe amid the execution of their duties include flow control.”

Joseph states that while the equipment may have hampered flight arrivals, new equipment is being sourced so that better operations can begin come the new quarter of 2019.

He goes on to say that there has been an absence of radar in the air traffic control tower for some time, but the airport is going through the process of replacing the out-dated system.

“The process of perfecting the flow control issue will take a few weeks to be resolved.”

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  1. The controllers warned of this months ago but the govt took no heed. It is high time our aviation minister looks into the plight of these controllers and equip them with the necessary tools to perform their job properly and safely before a major incident or accident occurs.

  2. Just one incident can kill tourism for the season. Listen to the controllers and stand up for safe operations.

  3. Flow control is nothing new, this happens every year during the winter months due to increased traffic. San Juan with all its modern equipment will do flow control time after time. Antigua being central in the island chain sits between SJU FIR and POS FIR. The ATCO can handle x amount of aircraft at a particular time. Flow control is a safety measure. The Gov has already purchased the VOR, however, this piece of equipment is becoming obsolete very soon. Further, radar is now becoming secondary NAVAIDS.

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