‘Flow Control’ measures affect aircraft at the airport

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Airline officials who encountered several delays while attempting to land at the V.C. Bird International Airport on Sunday, have expressed frustration about ‘flow control’ measures that significantly hampered inbound and outbound flights.
The measures, which lasted from midday Sunday to 8 p.m. last night, were reportedly taken by air traffic controllers at the airport as a form of protest, allegedly due to the lack of essential equipment to effectively carry out their duties.
OBSERVER radio was reliably informed by airline sources that there was a 20-minute delay between each aircraft landing at the airport on Sunday, and each aircraft was required to call for start-up clearance. Under normal circumstances the process for landing would take between 10 and 15 minutes.
Airline officials, whose aircraft were affected by the process, complained that the approach was ridiculous.
A top official also explained that the controllers have relayed to them that there is no radar at the Air Traffic Control Tower, reportedly because the company that serviced the previous one in early 2000 was not compensated for the services rendered.
We were also told by airport sources that the ‘flow control’ measure is used repeatedly by controllers. Some controllers have denied that the ‘flow control’ has had anything to do with the lack of equipment.
In a social media post, air traffic controller, Eugene Silcott claimed that the ‘flow control’ measure has nothing to do with a protest action.
He stated that this measure, in place for a few years, is usually implemented around this time of the year.
“Our main duty is safety, and if we don’t take this necessary measure, we will end up with a congested airspace that can lead to accidents. Our job is not an easy one, and during this period our stress level climbs to an unbelievable high, because it takes serious focus and concentration to perform our duties. It involves quick calculation and quick decision-making in order to complete our tasks,” Silcott said.
As it relates to equipment, Silcott acknowledged that, “Yes we don’t have the necessary navigational facilities that can make our job easier, but we are well-trained, competent air traffic controllers who can work with whatever is available to us.”
Silcott concluded by asking the general public to be patient “because we want Antigua and Barbuda’s airspace to be safe and accident-free.”

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