Why American Airlines deferred flight plans to St Mary terminal airport


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Earlier this year, the Jamaican Government announced that American Airlines (AA) would begin scheduled international flights from Miami, Florida to the Ian Fleming International Airport (IFIA) in Boscobel, St Mary in November 2022.

However, the launch of the service has been postponed to a later date, possibly after April 2023.

In a statement released on Friday, Minister of Transport and Mining Audley Shaw said since the announcement of the international flights, AA has been working with the Airports Authority of Jamaica (AAJ) and the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) towards ensuring that all the necessary regulatory and supporting structures and arrangements are in place to facilitate the flight.

“However, despite continued work to make this a reality, an agreement was reached to postpone the launch of the service to a later date than originally announced,” Shaw said.

He said the decision was taken by American Airlines, in consultation with the Jamaican authorities, to allow for additional Air Navigation Services, requested by American Airlines, to be provided at Ian Fleming International Airport.

“Some specific requirements regarding flight navigational aids which currently exceeds what now exists at the IFIA were outlined by the AA. 

This is to ensure consistency of service during periods of unstable weather conditions, after commencement of operation,” the minister said.

He added that, notwithstanding all the stakeholders’ best efforts, the implementation of the additional measures to meet American Airlines’ requirements would take another six to seven months.

“This is critical to ensuring a safe, reliable, consistent, and seamless service,” Shaw said. 

The Ministry of Transport and Mining, through the JCAA and the AAJ, is committed to having the outstanding measures addressed within this timeline while keeping the relevant parties abreast of the progress to ensure that planning and implementation can be synchronized, he added.

“We acknowledge the importance of the new operations and the impact it will have on the tourism sector, especially in the northern region of the island.

“The collective decision of American Airlines, the AAJ and JCAA is to ensure that we maintain proper international standards for the safety of crew and passengers,” Shaw said.

He also said there would be ongoing collaboration and coordination with the tourism counterpart to ensure that all stakeholders are on board. 

“It is expected that the additional requirements will be in place by April 2023. 

American Airlines has promised to announce a new commencement date,” Shaw said.

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