The fumes from fumigation at the old V C Bird International Airport terminal caused workers at the Control Tower to be evacuated, temporarily shutting down the airport.
Close to a dozen inbound and departing flights were either delayed or diverted to neighbouring islands that could accommodate the aircrafts.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Antigua & Barbuda Airport Authority, Stanley Smith said the closure was caused when chemical fumes leaked into the control tower, about noon.
“We were doing some fumigation in the old terminal building and some of the fumes seeped through the elevator shaft and the tunnels for the cables and into the cab of the control tower. So, we are in the process of extracting the fumes and it will take about 20 to 30 minutes,” Smith said.
Passengers were seemingly not affected by the delays when OBSERVER media went to the airport. Those checking-in for the American Airline flight destined for Miami, scheduled to depart at 2:56 pm, were being informed by agents that the delay would be at least an hour.
Information being displayed on the television told passengers that at least five inbound flights would be delayed while three outgoing flights would not be leaving the island on time.
Operations resumed shortly after 3 pm. But by then, a number of LIAT flights were already affected and so were the Virgin Atlantic and British Airways flights from London. The New York flight was also diverted to a neighbouring international airport.
Some flights were diverted to St Kitts, while others were rerouted to Puerto Rico.
Tourism Minister calls for Airport CEO to be fired
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Tourism Minister Asot Michael has called for the Airport Authority CEO Stanley Smith to be fired after the airport was shut today and several flights were diverted.
Michael spoke to Observer Media on the issue…
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