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Protest jolts Fly Jamaica plans; airline blames 'unruly' passengers

Saturday, January 13, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — There was an early morning protest at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston on Saturday as passengers were left fuming after their Fly Jamaica flight was delayed again.

The passengers who said they were to leave the island from Thursday could be heard chanting, “we want justice”, as the flight which was set for this morning was delayed until 3:00 pm this afternoon.

When OBSERVER ONLINE contacted Fly Jamaica Airways CEO Paul Reece, he dismissed the claim that the flight was to leave on Thursday.

“That is not true. The airplane was rented to move the passengers and they behaved in a disorderly manner. They threatened the crew last night, and the crew said they are going home. And that is why the flight wasn't done,” said Reece.

He added that there was one person who was on board who did not have a green card and when he was taken off the flight the passengers started behaving “badly”.

“They started tripping the cabin attendant in the aisle as they walked. So the flight crew and cabin crew said they aren't doing the flight anymore,” Reece explained, reiterating that the airplane was present.

“The plane was there since last night ready to take them but if they want to behave in a disorderly manner what more can the crew do? There are rules since 9/11 about unruly passengers.

“If people behave in an unruly manner you can't put them on board or they can be arrested,” Reece added.

The CEO also pointed out that if the passengers are behaving in an irrational manner then the crew will probably cancel the flight again.

“Things can't go on like this, if you want to travel just stay quiet, get where you're going and keep moving on,” said Reece.

Just last week, the management of Fly Jamaica was summoned to a meeting with officials of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) following reports of an increase in flight cancellations and delays in recent weeks.

Fly Jamaica falls under the Wings Aviation company and operates scheduled flights from Guyana to Kingston (Jamaica), Toronto (Canada) and New York (USA). The airline also recently received the green light to begin operations to Cuba.

Moya Hinds

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