Sangster International Airport extended runway is now open

MBJ Airports has announced that the recently extended runway at the Sangster International Airport (SIA) in Montego Bay, St James, is now open and operational.

The extended runway includes the introduction of a runway end safety area (RESA) at both ends of the runway, which further enhances the safety of aircraft operations at the Sangster International Airport.

The company stated that more upgrades will be coming to the airport as part of an overall investment programme.

"These projects encompass a comprehensive upgrade and expansion of the check-in area, outbound security, immigration hall, and landside roads. The redevelopment aims to enhance throughput, increase parking, and further elevate the passenger experience."

Sangster International Airport's completed extended runway in Montego Bay, St.James.

The announcement comes two weeks after the runway at the airport was closed to facilitate construction-related activities causing disruption to flights for a few hours.

In a release Tuesday, MBJ Airports Limited, the company which manages SIA, said that the decision had been made within the framework of its safety management systems, designed to prioritise the safety of all operations.

"As is the norm in the aviation industry, steps have already been taken to conduct a thorough review of the circumstances. MBJ Limited has given the assurance that the safety of all passengers, airlines, and stakeholders involved in airport operations remains its utmost priority," the release stated.

The runway closure which occurred on Thursday, August 10 resulted in no flights going into or out of SIA between 7:00 am and about 2:30 pm.

Some of the 15,000 passengers who were inconvenienced by the almost eight-hour closure of the runway at Sangster International Airport recently. (Photo: Horace Hines)

Sharon Hislop-Holt, MBJ Airports manager for commercial business development and marketing, revealed that 30 of the 52 incoming flights scheduled during the period were diverted to the Norman Manley International Airport, while 12 were cancelled.

But, according to the SIA flight update the following day, of the 66 flights scheduled for arrival, 51 landed and two were cancelled.

There were also conflicting reports from the Ministry of Science, Energy, Telecommunications and Transport that the temporary closure of the runway was due to inclement weather, which affected upgrading work being carried out at the airport, as well as equipment failure.

MBJ Airports Limited has since commended the Ministry of Science, Energy, Telecommunications, and Transport for its commitment and concern for the welfare of the aviation industry. It also extended its appreciation to the airlines for demonstrating their dedication by resuming operations once the issue was resolved on the same afternoon. Key stakeholders in the tourism industry, particularly the Jamaica Tourist Board and members of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), were also acknowledged by MBJ in its release for their collaborative efforts that contributed to "minimising disruptions" during the runway closure.

"Sangster International Airport stands as the gateway to Jamaica and a cornerstone of the nation's infrastructure. The airport continues to be a recognised leader in the Caribbean," affirmed Shane Munroe, CEO of MBJ Airports Limited.

"We remain dedicated to maintaining this reputation by continually investing in facilities and advancing the quality of the passenger experience. By working collectively, we are confident that we will overcome challenges and create an even more robust, secure, and welcoming aviation ecosystem for all."

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