Transport Minister Devant Maharaj says flights would not be cancelled at the Piarco International Airport during the curfew hours, 9 pm to 5 am, as a result of the state of emergency. Maharaj met with stakeholders of the airline industry yesterday to address their concerns following the cancellation of two American Airlines flight on Monday. He said there would be minimal discomfort to passengers. Maharaj said: "The issue of flights being cancelled will not arise during this period of curfew and it will be with the minimal amount of inconvenience as possible ,bearing in mind that this is a state of emergency and there will be some degree of inconvenience and discomfort but our attempt is to try and minimise it." Maharaj was speaking at the north terminal boardroom and was accompanied by deputy chairman of the Airport Authority of T&T Felix Hernandez, general manager Louis Frederick and Assistant Commissioner of Police Eulyna Julius.
Frederick said security had been tightened at the airport. Maharaj said among some of the issues addressed were crew members coming to and from the aircraft as well as their drivers and drivers expected to pick up passengers. He said a police post would be stationed at the airport for the duration of the emergency and permits would be issued.
Maharaj said it was unfortunate the operations manager of the Airport Authority did not contact the Transport Ministry in an effort to resolve the matter on Monday which saw several passengers being inconvenienced. He assured all issues were ironed out. Maharaj said: "Everything is as normal as we could make it given the circumstances." He said no permit would be issued to normal taxi drivers to ply their trade. However, permits would be issued to specific airport taxi drivers. Normal taxi drivers would have to prove they were coming to pick up passengers, he added. Drivers are being asked to walk with two forms of ID and proof of travel arrangements that they are picking up passengers. Passengers coming through Customs will have to obtain a permit.