Confusion over the status of Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston continued Sunday as a Cayman Airways plane headed there had to be turned around in mid-flight.
Cayman Airways officials said the flight departed Sunday from Grand Cayman after receiving confirmation that Norman Manley Airport would be able to accept it.
“However, approximately 20 minutes into the flight, the captain received new and conflicting information from Kingston air traffic control, which resulted in a decision to return to Grand Cayman,” a statement from Cayman Airways released
Norman Manley Airport suffered a lightning strike Friday night that knocked out its radar communications and caused the airport to effectively shut down. The shutdown interrupted all Cayman Airways services to Kingston, as well as flights from several other airlines.
It was not known if the lightning strike resulted from Hurricane Irma, which was passing well north of Jamaica on Friday, or if it was due to other stormy weather in the region.
On Monday, regularly scheduled flights to Kingston resumed, departing around 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. Most of the weekend passengers whose trips were interrupted traveled on those flights.
Extra flights to Kingston were added Monday, but were again delayed “due to ongoing issues related to the airspace restrictions” around Norman Manley Airport. Two more “recovery flights” left Grand Cayman Monday afternoon for Kingston.
“All other Kingston flights are expected to operate as scheduled, but Cayman Airways is continuing to monitor the situation with air traffic control in Kingston and will update passengers if further changes to our Kingston operations become necessary,” the airline noted.
Passengers with tickets for travel between Grand Cayman and Kingston or Montego Bay in the coming days are asked to call Cayman Airways Reservations on 345-949-2311 or 866-759-1372 (toll free in Jamaica) to reconfirm their reservations.