Thu, Dec 29, 2005
Passengers Stranded At Airport Over Holiday Weekend
Controllers at Nassau International Airport were thrown into a
tailspin over the holiday weekend, when the airport's new radar
system decided to go belly-up during one of the busiest travel
periods of the year.
The broken system "devastated" operations at the Bahamas
airport, according to the Bahama Journal, affecting an estimated
6,000 travellers. Controllers resorted to an older system to
handle the influx of aircraft into the airport as best they
Many flights out of the airport were cancelled, with inbound
flights forced to either divert to Miami or fly a "procedural
approach" to land -- requiring pilots to constantly report their
position and altitude to controllers, while maintaining a 20-mile
separation from other aircraft.
The cancellations also forced around 350 passengers to spend the
night in a less-than-idyllic setting: the US departure lounge.
"The airport was full to capacity, so there was no room.
Basically everybody was lying on the floor, the cafeteria lines
were from one end all the way to the next side of the airport; it
was just chaotic," one passenger told the Journal. "The tourists
had no money for hotel rooms and they had nowhere to go. It was a
Maintenance workers later traced the problem with the radar to
several burned-out components in the airport's "nearly new" system,
and everything was expected to be back to normal by Wednesday.
A source familiar with operations at the airport told the
Journal officials at the airport have known "all along that
there’s been a problem with maintenance, but it’s been
The source also speculated the problems may have had something
to do with workers unhappy with their recent employment
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