Jamaica’s International Airports’ Response to Global Health Alert – Novel Corona Virus

In the wake of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the Airports Authority of Jamaica (AAJ) and the management and stakeholders of Jamaica’s airports have taken a number of preventative and proactive measures to protect their passengers and workers.

The international gateways to Jamaica – Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA), Sangster International Airport (SIA), and the Ian Fleming International Airport (IFIA) continue to work closely with and facilitate on site activities of the Ministry of Health & Wellness (MoHW) to alleviate the spread of the virus. The safety and security of all passengers, airport workers and users are always of paramount importance to the airport operators.

Further to the restrictions now placed on travel from some countries by the Government of Jamaica, the following specific proactive and precautionary measures have been implemented at the country’s international airports:

  • Passengers are screened on arrival by heat sensing scanner for high body temperature prior to entering the Immigration Hall.
  • Increased stock levels of personal sanitizing items and personal protective equipment (PPE);
  • Quarantine Stations (located in the Incoming Immigration Hall) which facilitates a constant presence of Public Health Nurses. As per the Aerodrome Emergency Response Plan (AERP) regarding communicable diseases, passengers that meet criteria#1 (signs or symptoms) or criteria#2 (travel history) will be quarantined and transported to an off-site Ministry of Health facility by the Public Health Nurse/MoHW and given requisite provisions;
  • Bolstering of the Airport Emergency Response outfit with Fire Fighters that are also certified Emergency Medical Technicians; and
  • Joint inspection of the designated isolation surveillance areas of the airports with the Port Health team to ensure readiness;

Additionally, a number of communication and sensitization initiatives are being undertaken including:

  • Sensitization sessions, facilitated by the Director of International Health Regulations (IHR) with front line employees, first responders, Passport Immigration & Citizenship Agency (PICA), Customs, Jamaica Hotel & Tourism Association (JHTA) and other key airport stakeholders;
  • Dissemination /re-communication and reinforcement of international procedures in responding to communicable diseases;

The AAJ also remains committed to providing relevant information to all stakeholders. These will include:

  • The placement of special features on the new COVID-19 in monthly airport newsletters (distributed to entire airport community);
  • Dissemination of Airport Operations/Human Resources Bulletins on COVID-19 prevention and to encourage necessary behaviour change in employees and stakeholders;
  • Banners with general information on COVID-19 for strategic placement throughout the main terminals of the international airports; and
  • Links for online information regarding the COVID-19, including measures that travelers may take to protect themselves are posted on all corporate social media platforms.

The AAJ has been kept abreast of relevant information from the MoHW, as well as information from the World Health Organization (WHO) through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the Airports Council International (ACI) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on existing guidance measures aimed at mitigating the spread of communicable diseases across borders and in particular, updated information on reducing the spread of the COVID-19.

Jamaica’s airports continue to be vigilant and unrelenting in its efforts to mitigate the spread of communicable diseases across borders and remind our airline partners of their fiduciary responsibility to ensure the strict implementation of related airline specific procedures as promulgated by the International Air Transport Association.