Air Traffic Control in Jamaica Shut Down, Stranding Thousands of Passengers

The shutdown resulted in many, many flight cancellations.

Sunset at the Norman Manley International Airport | Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock
Sunset at the Norman Manley International Airport | Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock

On Thursday afternoon, air traffic control at Sangster International Airport, Ian Fleming International Airport, and Norman Manley International Airport shut down. According to CNN, on May 12, cancellations started popping up on the board at 10:30 am. Flights from Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, and United Flights were all canceled.

CNN confirmed that the cancellations occurred because air traffic services were suspended.

"The Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) wishes to advise the public that, as dialogue progresses between the Authority and its key stakeholders, particularly the Jamaica Air Traffic Controllers Association (JATCA), air traffic services are currently being restored," the JCAA said in a press release shared to Twitter.

The cause for the pause in services was due to a staffing issue, which led to the JCAA deciding to stop services at all three international airports. Some local papers reported that it was a strike from workers for air traffic control.

Several airlines had to issue vouchers for passengers who were stuck overnight. By Thursday evening, two flights had resumed. On Friday morning, many flights were reportedly resumed.

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Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.