KINGSTON, Jamaica – Dozens of flights to and from Jamaica were delayed Monday and at least four flights were canceled or diverted as a strike by air traffic controllers stretched into a second day, aviation officials said.
Mark Williams, vice president of commercial operations for the Airports Authority of Jamaica, said the walkout left hundreds of disgruntled passengers waiting in airport lobbies.
"All flights in and out have been delayed by a couple of hours," Williams said.
Jamaica's civil aviation authority called in managers to supervise flights after traffic controllers abandoned their posts Sunday. Agency spokeswoman Nicole Hutchinson said it continues "to ensure the safety of the industry and we will not operate in such a way to compromise safety."
American Airlines spokeswoman Martha Pantin said the dominant Caribbean carrier had been forced to cancel two flights due to the strike, which coincides with the Caribbean island's Labor Day holiday.
Williams said Air Jamaica diverted two incoming flights.
The controllers, who are ignoring a Supreme Court injunction issued Sunday to return to work, are demanding retroactive pay raises and inclusion in the government's negotiations over public sector wages.
"The island's air traffic controllers are restive, and as a result normality cannot be guaranteed at the island's international airports and within the Jamaican airspace," the Jamaica Air Traffic Controllers' Association said in a statement issued Saturday.
Telephone calls to the group's president and general secretary went unanswered Monday.