Can­celled Fly Ja­maica flights leave pas­sen­gers frus­trated

Stabroek News Sunday - - NEWS -

Fly Ja­maica has be­gun to shut­tle pas­sen­gers to their re­spec­tive des­ti­na­tions but many re­main un­sure of their flight sched­ule as they are be­ing told to wait un­til the air­line makes con­tact with them.

Both Fly Ja­maica air­craft have been grounded as a re­sult of me­chan­i­cal is­sues for ap­prox­i­mately one week. As a re­sult of the ground­ing for main­te­nance, all of the com­pany’s op­er­a­tions are af­fected. No­tably, pas­sen­gers trav­el­ling from Ge­orge­town, Guyana to Toronto, Canada are the ones sig­nif­i­cantly af­fected. Many pas­sen­gers, dur­ing the course of last week, showed up for their flights but were in­formed that they had been can­celled.

On the air­line’s Face­book page, pas­sen­gers vented their frus­tra­tions as a re­sult of the poor com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Tele­phone num­bers pro­vided by the air­line to its pas­sen­gers have ei­ther been dis­con­nected or are not be­ing manned by any­one.

Stabroek News’ at­tempts to con­tact Fly Ja­maica of­fi­cials on the tele­phone num­bers pro­vided for their in­ter­na­tional and lo­cal of­fices were un­suc­cess­ful. A su­per­vi­sor who was in charge of the com­mer­cial of­fice lo­cated in the Eu­gene F. Cor­reia In­ter­na­tional Air­port at Ogle, re­fused to comment when ap­proached by Stabroek News. He stated that he was not au­tho­rised to speak and that all ques­tions should be directed to the Gen­eral Man­ager of the Toronto of­fice.

Direc­tor-Gen­eral of the Guyana Civil Avi­a­tion Author­ity (GCAA), Re­tired Lieu­tenant Colonel Eg­bert Field said that Fly Ja­maica is cur­rently work­ing to get one of its planes back in op­er­a­tion to­day. He noted that the GCAA has been keeping a watch­ful eye on the de­vel­op­ments and is in con­tact with the com­pany.

Ac­cord­ing to an up­dated flight sched­ule posted on the air­line’s web­site, a flight de­parted Toronto at 6 pm last evening and was ex­pected to ar­rive in Kingston, Ja­maica at 12.20 am, while a flight from Ge­orge­town to Toronto is ex­pected to de­part at 11.20 am to­day.

Yes­ter­day, Field told this news­pa­per that the air­line had in­formed his agency of the me­chan­i­cal is­sues their air­craft had en­coun­tered. He noted that the is­sues were not as a re­sult of “lack of main­te­nance, but one re­lat­ing to the en­gines.”

The GCAA direc­tor went on to ex­plain that it is dif­fi­cult to char­ter planes at this time since it is con­sid­ered a peak sea­son. He said the air­line had to visit Seat­tle to se­cure a char­ter plane which is now be­ing used to get pas­sen­gers to their des­ti­na­tions.

Based on the no­tices posted on the Fly Ja­maica web­site, the sched­ule is sub­jected to change and cus­tomers are asked to con­stantly check it. Cus­tomers were also ad­vised to call be­fore the sched­uled check-in time.

Ad­di­tion­ally, an­other no­tice posted on the web­site stated that all flights booked for Au­gust 28 and af­ter­wards, would be on the reg­u­lar sched­ule.

Stabroek News has since learnt that the air­line has char­tered a Boe­ing 777 pas­sen­ger air­craft from Omni Air, in Tulsa, Ok­la­homa, to con­tinue shut­tling pas­sen­gers be­tween Toronto and Ge­orge­town. The air­craft re­port­edly landed at Cheddi Jagan In­ter­na­tional Air­port on Thurs­day night with pas­sen­gers from John F. Kennedy In­ter­na­tional Air­port, USA, and de­parted Fri­day night with 377 pas­sen­gers for Toronto.

Pas­sen­gers be­came frus­trated with the sit­u­a­tion on Monday last when a flight that was sched­uled to de­part from Toronto, Canada was can­celled. Although many checked the air­line’s web­site be­fore ar­riv­ing at the air­port, they had been mis­led since the web­site had not been up­dated to in­form pas­sen­gers of the change.

It was only when they started to make a com­mo­tion that they were even­tu­ally told around 9 pm that their flight was can­celled and in­formed to keep check­ing with the air­line for fur­ther in­for­ma­tion. The 1-800 num­ber they were pro­vided with sub­se­quently went out of ser­vice.

Com­ment­ing on the Fly Ja­maica Face­book page, an­other pas­sen­ger said that they trav­elled from Parika, East Bank Esse­quibo, only to be told that their flight had been can­celled. They were pro­vided with two num­bers to call for up­dates but the num­bers kept ring­ing out.

A child re­port­edly missed an ap­point­ment with a neu­ro­sur­geon, which had taken months to make, com­mented an­other pas­sen­ger. The child had been ex­pected to leave Guyana on Tues­day but was un­able to do so.

Sev­eral pas­sen­gers who were va­ca­tion­ing were un­able to re­turn to work in time af­ter their an­nual leave ended and they found them­selves stuck in Guyana.

“My leave of ab­sence from work has ex­pired as I was to re­turn to work yes­ter­day morn­ing. I have re­ceived no calls from the air­line or their agents to no­tify me of any up­dates. All morn­ing I’ve called all the num­bers pro­vided, in­clud­ing the CJIA, as well as a few num­bers I found on­line; all of which are ei­ther out of ser­vice, or ring out with no voice­mail op­tion,” an­other frus­trated pas­sen­ger com­mented on the air­line’s Face­book page.

Pas­sen­gers ex­pressed anger at the air­line since it did not of­fer any state­ment ex­plain­ing the rea­son be­hind the de­lays and can­cel­la­tion of flights.

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