House Updated on Air Traffic Control System Restoration

Photo: Michael Sloley Transport and Mining Minister, Hon. Mike Henry, updates the House of Representatives on Tuesday (September 12) on operations at the nation’s airports.

Story Highlights

  • Transport and Mining Minister, Hon. Mike Henry, on Tuesday (September 12), updated the House of Representatives on the total systems failure at the Air Traffic Control Centre in Kingston.
  • The centre’s radar and communications network sustained extensive damage resulting from a lightning strike, which significantly affected the management of and operations within Jamaica’s flight information region.
  • Mr. Henry said the new TopSky automation system and equipment, which were knocked out of service, have been restored and are now operational.

Transport and Mining Minister, Hon. Mike Henry, on Tuesday (September 12), updated the House of Representatives on the total systems failure at the Air Traffic Control Centre in Kingston.

The centre’s radar and communications network sustained extensive damage resulting from a lightning strike, which significantly affected the management of and operations within Jamaica’s flight information region.

Consequently, the centre was unable to provide air traffic support service for flights that were scheduled to arrive and depart the island, as well as those traversing Jamaica’s airspace from Friday, September 8 to Saturday, September 9.

Mr. Henry said the new TopSky automation system and equipment, which were knocked out of service, have been restored and are now operational.

“We have tested the MEVA Network node for communications with regional airspace operators and it’s working satisfactorily. The AFTN/AMHS aviation messaging service has been restored,” he stated.

Mr. Henry said the Norman Manley International Airport radar feed has been restored to TopSky, adding that plans are advanced to restore Montego Radar feed.

The Minister said repairs to the microwave radio communication system from Coopers Hill and Catherine’s Peak have been completed.

“Investigations into the full extent of the damage are ongoing, and as soon as I have the full report, I will share it with the members of this House,” he stated.

Mr. Henry noted that full restoration of the system requires international sourcing of parts and consulting services.

“In this regard, we have sought approval to expedite immediate procurement activities, which include sourcing and clearing of items at customs. This is expected to cost us approximately US$200,000,” he informed.

Meanwhile, Mr. Henry said he has been advised that the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority has invested in the enhanced lightning-protection systems, including state-of-the-art atmospheric discharge units.

He noted that these “will go a far way in mitigating any future strikes”.

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