Chang confident PICA will withstand the test during the forecasted bumper winter tourist season
ST JAMES, Jamaica – National Security Minister, Dr Horace Chang, is satisfied that the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) is well prepared to process the influx of passengers expected to pass through the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, St James during the projected bumper winter tourist season.
During an impromptu visit at the airport on Saturday, Dr Chang, who was accompanied by Chief Executive Officer of PICA, Andrew Wynter, and Director Immigration Services, Ezra Whittock, had a first-hand view of the processing of some of the 13,000 passengers who passed through the airport.
“So far what is happening here is coming on nicely. It worked well today [Saturday] and I think we had about 13,000 passengers, the kind of numbers you are going into the winter season with. And Christmas will test it fully when you get to 15,000, , but the system is looking good but we have to monitor it on a daily basis,” Dr Chang told Observer Online.
He revealed that by later this month, 20 more Immigration kiosks will be put in place at the MBJ-operated airport, bringing the total number to 100.
“So we will have 80 kiosks and by the middle of the winter season 100. For today, with 13,000 passengers, it went well and they only had 70 kiosks working well,” Chang pointed out.
According to Bartlett, 1.05 million airline seats have been secured from nearly 6,000 flights coming into the island out of the United States – Jamaica’s biggest source market – during the winter season which begins on December 15. The surge in airlift, he said, represents an increase of 13 per cent over the 2022/2023 winter season when Jamaica recorded 923,000 airline seats.