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Stranded

Crash leaves Fly Jamaica passengers grounded; some miss return date for work

BY KIMONE FRANCIS
Observer staff reporter
francisk@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

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FLY Jamaica Airways passengers who have been stranded since the crash-landing of one of its carriers in Guyana last Friday were still, up to yesterday, unaware of when they will be able to return to the island, as the airline has not given them any information.

Late yesterday the airline, in an e-mail, advised passengers who were scheduled to fly between November 9 and November 13 that they should not proceed to the airport until further notice.

“We are still awaiting updates from our operational team; as soon as we have updated information you will be contacted. Fly Jamaica Airways truly regrets any inconvenience this may cause,” the e-mail, which was forwarded to the Jamaica Observer, read.

When contacted a Fly Jamaica representative who identified herself as Rochelle stated that the airline, registered in Jamaica, is working to remedy the situation.

“Currently we are working on getting the passengers out. Once the information has been confirmed, we will actually update that on our website as well as we will be making contact with our passengers to advise them. We have already assisted some of the passengers and those who have called in already, we have been working with them to see how best we can accommodate them going out,” the woman said.

The representative could not say whether or not the airline would partner with another airline to transport passengers to their destinations, stating that it would be best to check Fly Jamaica's website for further information.

Yesterday the Observer spoke to two passengers who were both stranded in Connecticut and New York and were scheduled to return to the island last Sunday.

The passengers, who asked not to be named, were scheduled to return to work on Monday, but have since had to write to their respective employers explaining their absence.

“On Friday when I called them they said that they could not give any information; we just have to wait on the advisories. An advisory came on Saturday to say that passengers who are booked from the 9th to the 13th should not make their way to the airport,” the passenger said, adding that an e-mail was to be sent from Fly Jamaica to employers, but that did not happen.

The passenger said that on Monday the airline made contact for booking arrangement for flights out of the United States “anytime after Friday”. However, the passenger said that no further information was provided regarding flight number, time or seating.

“Right now I am very upset because I have my son at home. I have had to extend arrangements for him. My mom is sick; I really need to go and see her and then there is work. I need to resume duties, so it has really disrupted my life, but there is really nothing I can do right now. When I asked about a refund so that I could catch another flight with another carrier they [say a] refund takes two to three weeks. I don't have two to three weeks. There is frustration all around,” the passenger said.

The other passenger, who was also supposed to return to the island on Sunday, said the airline had not been in communication about a return flight.

“I have to be spending what I really don't have for the extra days. I had already told myself that I am supposed to go home on Sunday and, I mean. all of that has been tossed out the window. It's getting colder. The forecast is saying that it is going to snow. I am not packed for that so I will have to spend more than I have to keep myself, and I won't be sleeping at the airport,” the passenger told the Observer.

“If Fly Jamaica say they have a flight for US$50 again in the near future and say because of what happened to us you can get a flight for US$50, I wouldn't want it. I bought my ticket from early and I usually research, but I did not this time, so this is too much. It is really inconveniencing me but God is good. I am not outside, I am cold, but I am still here,” the passenger said.

Ten people were injured in scenes described as “chaos” as a Fly Jamaica Boeing airliner carrying 118 passengers and eight crew members crash-landed in Guyana's capital, Georgetown, skidding to a halt just before a steep drop.

The Fly Jamaica Airways plane was bound for Toronto, Canada when it suffered a hydraulic problem shortly after take-off and returned to the airport, crashing and careening off the runway, Guyana Transportation Minister David Patterson said.

Since the incident, Fly Jamaica passengers have been stranded.

The airline offers services to Jamaica, Guyana, Toronto, and New York.

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