[Sint Maarten] PJIAE investigating Airport Fire Safety breach that occurred Sunday.

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[Sint Maarten] PJIAE investigating Airport Fire Safety breach that occurred Sunday.

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https://smn-news.com/st-maarten-st-mart ... unday.html

[Sint Maarten] PJIAE investigating Airport Fire Safety breach that occurred Sunday.
28 December 2020

AIRPORT

PJIAE Management is investigating a major fire safety breach that took place at the Airport on Sunday, December 27th, 2020, when an entire shift of fire-fighters failed to show up for duty, leaving the facility without regulated means to provide adequate aircraft rescue, firefighting to the support of safety in aircraft operation.

The alarm was raised around 07:00 A.M. when management was informed of the “no show” of the entire shift.

Management immediately went into action to keep the Airport functional by calling in spare crew members to prevent a total shutdown of the Airport.

“This was a very critical and serious occurrence for which I have started an immediate investigation,” said Airport CEO, Brian Mingo.

According to Mr. Mingo, the Princess Juliana International Airport (aerodrome) have a declared minimum firefighting capacity of Category 9 Aircraft Rescue Firefighting (ARFF) to support Code E Aircrafts type landing at PJIA, such as A330 (Airbus) currently being operated into St. Maarten by Air France and KLM.

Management’s contingency consisted of first assuring a lower Category 5 Aircraft Rescue Firefighting support during the early morning hours until more fire-fighting personnel could be drafted into the build-up to the main Category 9 level. The island Government Fire department was also informed of the situation and developments surrounding this subject matter.

Mr. Mingo has been contacted by the Minister of TEATT Ludmila de Weever about the incident and has promised a full report.

“At this stage, I cannot say whether it was a coincidental or deliberate action, only that it was a serious matter that warranted immediate action on the part of PJIAE management to avoid closure of the Airport due to the absence of the ARFF support.

“Unless immediate action was taken, flights would have had to be diverted to other destinations or canceled. Not only would this have been bad for the reputation of our Airport but would have also caused a wider investigation by the Civil Aviation Authorities and other Airline stakeholders,” continued Mr. Mingo.

The Airport CEO says he will leave no stone unturned to get to the bottom of this matter and called on all PJIAE staff to cooperate to the fullest so that incidents like this do not happen again in the future.

Mr. Mingo has reported to Minister de Weever and to the Shareholder that the situation of the Rescue Firefighting staff at PJIA on Sunday has been resolved.

“The in spare crew members was called into man the needed RFF’s (Rescue & Fire Fighter’s) positions in order to re-establish the required ARFF support (Category 9) of safety in aircraft operation at PJIA,” stated Mr. Mingo in the first response to Minister de Weever.

Mr. Mingo is assuring Government and the traveling public that the Airport remains vigilant and ready to take decisive action at all times to secure the safety of all stakeholders and users of the Airport.

“In 2020 we are projected to close off the year at less than 35% of the passenger volumes we did in 2019 when we handled just under 720,000 departing passengers. We are still way behind our record of just over 882,000 departing passengers in our model year of 2016, but when you consider what happened with Hurricane Irma and the COVID-19 crisis, we are still fighting back slowly and we cannot allow incidents like what happened Sunday to cripple us any further,” said Mr. Mingo.
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Re: [Sint Maarten] PJIAE investigating Airport Fire Safety breach that occurred Sunday.

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https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/f ... operations

Firefighter sick-out threatened to shut down airport operations
29 DECEMBER 2020

AIRPORT

An entire shift of airport firefighters called in sick on Sunday morning, which left Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) without the minimum number of personnel to safety facilitate aircraft take-offs and landings.

This threatened to shut down the runway for the day during the busiest time of the year. Arrival numbers are currently at their highest since the airport closed its doors in March because of the COVID-19 crisis (see related story).

PJIA operating company PJIAE said the alarm was raised around 7:00am Sunday, when management was informed that the entire shift of Rescue and Firefighting (RFF) were a no-show. The St. Maarten Fire Department, which is separate from RFF, was also informed of the situation on Sunday morning.

The airport called in several spare firefighters in the morning hours to prevent a total shutdown of the airport’s operations. This allowed the airport to secure a so-called category five safety rating, which meant only small aircraft could perform take-offs and landings.

However, with the day’s peak hours coming up, the airport needed to secure additional personnel to facilitate larger jet aircraft, such as those operated by Air France and Royal Dutch Airlines KLM.

PJIAE got more personnel on duty to obtain a category nine safety rating around 11:00am, which allowed the first jet aircraft of the day – Copa Airlines flight 134 from Panama City, Panama – to land about 15 minutes later.

First reports about the firefighters’ failure to show up for work indicated that it was an organised strike. The firefighters were said to be protesting the airport’s failure to pay them an end-of-year bonus.

The Daily Herald tried to contact labour union ABVO St. Maarten on Monday afternoon for comment, but efforts proved futile. ABVO St. Maarten represents many PJIAE workers.

PJIAE chief executive officer (CEO) Brian Mingo on Monday did not confirm or deny whether it was an organised strike.

“At this stage I cannot say whether it was a coincidental or deliberate action, only that it was a serious matter that warranted immediate action on the part of PJIAE’s management to avoid closure of the airport due to the absence of RFF support.

“If immediate action was not taken, flights would have had to be diverted to other destinations or cancelled. Not only would this have been bad for the reputation of our airport, but it would have also caused a wider investigation by the civil aviation authorities and other airline stakeholders,” said Mingo.

PJIAE is looking into the incident, said Mingo. “This was a very critical and serious occurrence for which I have started an immediate investigation,” he said.

A full report about the incident is to be given to Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Ludmila de Weever, said Mingo.

He called on PJIAE workers to “cooperate to the fullest so that incidents like this do not happen again in the future.”
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Re: [Sint Maarten] PJIAE investigating Airport Fire Safety breach that occurred Sunday.

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Like so many industrial problems in the Caribbean, methinks these real issues start with interference by politicians and with mismanagement by management. You just cannot treat people like animals and expect they will continue to behave like intelligent people. Each of them has their own life to live and decisions to make, and if things were so bad it came to a whole shift deciding to show politicians and management how necessary their presence is, then so be it.

Too many politicians - globally - interfere in matters in which they have neither knowledge nor concern, too many managers are untrained and inexperienced, believe the only way to treat people (including employees and customers) is with rudeness and brute force.

Our islands came to this point under labour majorities, but those who aspire to leadership - whether in politricks or management - seem to have left their brains and common sense under the roots of the potato fields of their forefathers.
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