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Probe launched into Air Traffic Control services after controller left post

In the wake of an Air Traffic Controller (ATC) leaving his post that resulted in a minor delay in arrival of a Caribbean Airlines flight, government has announced that a probe has been launched into the incident.

“The investigation will focus on the operational procedures and code of conduct as it relates Air Traffic Control Services being provided by the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority,” said the Ministry of Transport and the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).

The ministry and the GCAA said they would be conducting the probe into the alleged incident at the Control Tower at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA). No details about the occurrence were mentioned in the brief statement.

The release came several hours after Demerara Waves Online News (www.demwaves.com) first reported that an ATC allegedly abandoned duty by refusing to work beyond his eight-hour shift after he was not relieved. He said he was also feeling unwell.

DemWaves was further told that a senior GCAA Air Navigation official might have granted permission for the ATC to leave. He departed even as a Caribbean Airlines flight was arriving. An airline official has explained that despite the eight to 10 minute delay, the flight landed on time at about 1:30 AM Saturday because it had departed Trinidad and Tobago’s Piarco International Airport a bit early.

After the ATC left, a senior controller from another unit that mans flights over Guyana’s airspace was dispatched to give landing and take-off clearances to the Caribbean Airlines flight and other planes subsequently. While that replacement ATC was preparing to take over, DemWaves was told that the flight was circling for several minutes awaiting clearance.

Well-placed sources explained that it is mandatory for three ATCs to be on duty- one responsible for the final leg of about 30 miles from CJIA until it lands and parks in front of the arrivals lounge. The two others are tasked with guiding that airline up to the 30-mile mark from where they hand over to the ATC upstairs.

Against that background, the source said the ATC would have most likely known about the impending arrival of the Caribbean Airlines flight.