Major gateway shuts down

Major gateway shuts down

After effects of an electrical shortage, Saturday night caused the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) to briefly cease all operations Sunday afternoon.

According to intelligence, air conditioning in the air traffic control tower went out resulting in the airport’s runways having to close temporarily with no planes able to land or takeoff.

Eyewitness News spoke with General Manager for Bahamas Air Navigation Service Keith Major who said there was staff who continued to work with air conditioning, however as the situation worsened, an employee almost fainted and had to seek medical attention. There were also two other employees sent home.

“The conditions became unbearable to operate under… keep in mind there are no windows in the tower so it’s vital to keep the air condition running.” Said Major.

Reports say that at 10:22 a.m. the air conditioning service was suspended. The air conditioning became operational at 11:00 a.m. and at 11:35 a.m. all arrivals and departures resumed.

Despite the air conditioning issue being resolved rather quickly, there were still some airlines that were affected and in need of a diversion.

“There were two airlines affected in terms of diversions… Rouge out of Canada diverted to Fort Lauderdale and so did Jet Blue,” said the navigation manager.

Because of the quick turnaround and fast response from NAD, not many passengers were affected by the temporary closure, so much so that most of them were unaware. However, there was a family from the U.S that happened to get the notification aboard their flight before leaving Atlanta. This prepared them in the event of a possible delay.

In terms of remediation and moving forward in case of a similar situation, Major said that a quick response is what makes the difference.

He said he’s unaware if there are any preparations that can be made to prevent knocking out the air conditioning system in the future but as long as there are staff always ready and available to fix issues, he thinks all is well.