IAN KEVIN RAMDHANIE
Caribbean Institute for Security
and Public Safety
The Airports Authority (AATT) has assured that Monday’s emergency closure of Piarco Airport did not disrupt operations at the airport. Meanwhile, an investigation is underway to find out what caused the cargo aircraft hydraulic system to malfunction. The hour-long closure around 8.45 pm on Monday was part of emergency procedures by the Fire Services in response to a flight crew's mayday call.
AATT officials said Vensacar 323, a Boeing 727, radioed ahead around 8.26 pm to declare a full emergency owing to a malfunction of its hydraulics system. Responding to the call, AATT officials started emergency procedures and notified first responders. The cargo aircraft landed safely around 8.45 pm and was towed to the southern apron for repairs. As a result the runway had to be closed and other landings delayed until the runway was reopened at 9.45 pm.
Incoming flights from Tobago, Miami, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale were placed in a holding pattern while emergency procedures were implemented. The affected flights were BW 483, 446, 485, 481, 3543 and Liat 338. An official explained that meant the planes were directed to maintain a certain altitude and course, away from the runway, while alternative arrangements were made to ensure they could be easily diverted to other airports if necessary.
However, the official said it was not necessary as all the flights were eventually allowed to land at Piarco.