Montserrat from the air.
Montserrat from the air. (Nerissa Golden photo)

To Fly or Not to Fly When Wet?

Residents and people preparing to return for the upcoming St. Patrick’s Festival were left confused after public statements yesterday about the status of the John A. Osborne Airport being able to allow flights to land and takeoff when the runway is wet.

Local media reported yesterday that the head of Fly Montserrat Captain Nigel Harris told ZJB Radio News that his airline had met the criteria for being able to land at the airport in wet conditions and restrictions had been lifted. Later in the morning Governor Andrew Pearce, who reiterated that he was not the one to call for flights to be cancelled once the runway is wet, said on the Morning Show with Basil Chambers that the restrictions were still in place unless individual airlines met the new requirements. He added that Airport Safety and Support International (ASSI) was to release a statement providing an update on the issue. He read from the statement, which he said was prepared by ASSI but one has not been officially released to the press.

The information he shared is similar to the communication that Discover Montserrat has gotten a hold of as it relates to Fly Montserrat. They were notified on February 26 2020 that the restrictions on the airline had been lifted. However, it also says that all airlines would need to show they have provided acceptable risk assessments to be given the same permission.

Governor Pearce did acknowledge that SVG Air has also been given permission to fly during wet conditions. However, he was not aware if the same was true for WINAIR, which has been contracted to provide additional flight support during the St. Patrick’s Festival season. Airport manager Joseph Irish, said he has not yet received confirmation from ASSI that WINAIR has met the conditions.