By Alexis R. Milan, Staff Reporter
Several flights were grounded and others rerouted from the Phillip Goldson International Airport on Saturday morning after all air traffic controllers scheduled to work the morning shift called in sick.
According to Lindsay Garbutt, director of Civil Aviation, after they received word that all air traffic controllers had called in sick they informed the airlines and advised them to ground and reroute flights until further notice. Garbutt said they have made arrangements and will resume limited services until the matter can be fully addressed.
Garbutt said a Delta flight coming from Los Angeles had to be rerouted to Honduras. He added that they haven’t received any reason from the air controllers as to the reason of the sick out, but admitted that at the airport, like at any other work environment, there are always disagreements between employees and management and they have always tried to address the concerns.
Garbutt said their priority was to resume air traffic and get their scheduled flights into the country. Garbutt shared that they have called in a qualified team of three controllers from different countries to assist the air traffic control and will deal with all other issues in the days to come.
Garbutt said it was very concerning that they haven’t received any specific demand from the controllers and they would sacrifice the operations of such an essential service for the country. He warned that as providers for such an essential service, air traffic controllers are not legally allowed to strike and the relevant authorities will review their actions.