Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MBJ Airports Limited, Shane Munroe, has credited the work of the Sangster International Airport (SIA) staff and various stakeholders in ensuring a seamless reopening of the facility on Monday (June 15).
Jamaica’s borders, which were closed on March 24 to contain local transmission of the coronavirus (COVID-19), were opened for the repatriation of nationals on June 1, while international travellers were welcomed on Monday.
Mr. Munroe told JIS News that leading up to the full resumption of operations, the MBJ team worked closely with the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Ministry of Tourism, and Ministry of Transport and Mining, to heighten sensitisation and communication and ensure that the safety protocols were in place, including screening and sanitisation.
“It was pretty much a collaborative effort. The Ministry of Health still has a large contingent of workers stationed here at the airport,” he noted.
The MBJ CEO said he was proud to see the level of seamlessness as it related to the processing of passengers, including health screening.
He noted that a new fever scan machine was installed by the Ministry of Health and Wellness in the arrivals area, bringing the total complement to two units.
He said that persons who have been risk assessed and deemed necessary for isolation are placed in a designated area and subsequently transported to an off-site health facility.
Mr. Munroe told JIS News that there is also an increase in the frequency of cleaning and sanitisation activities, pointing to the installation of hand-sanitising stations throughout the airport for passenger use.
He noted, further, that there are ongoing sensitisation sessions and communication with all stakeholders, including the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) and other entities operating at the airport.
“MBJ facilitates communication between the Ministry of Health and airline stakeholders to clarify new requirements and emerging travel restrictions,” Mr. Munroe said.
“MBJ has encouraged all entities operating at the airport to retrain their respective staff members on communicable disease-prevention and to disseminate information on COVID-19 prevention,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mr. Munroe said the airport staff, inclusive of management, are “generally happy and excited to be back… . You could see that in their actions on their first day back… the Red Cap porters, our security guards… our maintenance crew…all levels of workers were just happy to be back working”.