A programming issue with the air conditioning system at Owen Roberts International Airport caused it to shut down for four hours overnight while customers stood in line during the Hurricane Dean evacuation process.
And Hurricane Dean had also put a hold on the installation of a new air conditioning system for Owen Roberts International Airport.
Cayman Islands Airports Authority CEO David Frederick explained that the airport building operates under an energy management system whereby the air conditioning system automatically stops at midnight and starts again at 4am, and because of the programming it shut down on the first night of evacuations Friday.
However, the system was successfully reprogrammed for the next night of evacuations.
Minister for Tourism Charles Clifford said at Friday’s Cabinet Press Briefing, ‘Every time you have an event like this there is always going to be an opportunity to learn from the experience.
‘But there were more issues than that with respect to the air conditioning even before this event. They’ve had problems with that at Owen Roberts International Airport,’ he said.
Mr. Frederick confirmed that the CIAA has spent $65,000 to put a new a/c system in Grand Cayman’s airport.
Mr. Clifford said that Dean posed a threat as the installation of the new equipment was about to commence, so it obviously had to be put on hold.
There were certainly reports of individuals experiencing medical issues when the air conditioning went off, said Mr. Clifford.
‘But let me say that when we’re having a crisis or an emergency like this people should not expect things to run as normal.’ He elaborated that many more people were standing in line to check-in because many had experienced Hurricane Ivan and were trying to get off the island.
However, the Minister said that going forward they would be seeking to improve the situation at the airport.
Mr. Frederick noted that three of five new air conditioning units have now been installed and the remaining two are undergoing installation.