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…police called in to quell situation
By Alva Solomon
Dozens of frustrated passengers booked to travel on an American Airlines flight from the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) to New York grew increasingly vociferous forcing the police to quell the crowd which sought answers after hours of delay on Sunday night.
The flight, American Airlines 2694, was scheduled to depart at 11:51 pm on Sunday night and passengers were already seated on the plane when they were told by the crew to exit the aircraft with all their belongings. The pilots noted on the loudspeaker that the aircraft was out of service and suggested the passengers contact the airline about a relief flight to JFK.
The passengers then walked back into the departure terminal at the CJIA but grew angry after the counter staff remained mum. “We have been asking for food vouchers, for any form of assistance from the staff ,” a passenger noted. He said the staff were not updating the passengers on a relief flight or what would be the next move.
In a video sent to this publication , staff members of the carrier can be seen packing their belongings and exiting the counter area late on Sunday night as passengers sought answers from the airline.
Later, several police officers engaged the crowd as some passengers complained about the treatment they received from the airline. “At least somebody from the airline could say something to us,” a woman told the senior police rank. She said they were told the flight would now depart late on Monday night.
Reports are that the flight was expected to depart since earlier on Sunday and passengers were breathing a sigh of relief when they boarded on Sunday night. That sigh was short-lived.
Over the past several months the airline experienced delays at the CJIA including weather related issues at the country’s primary international airport.
American Airlines started operating between Guyana and the US in November 2018, taking passengers to its hub at the Miami International airport during the initial months of operation. It has since launched a service between the CJIA and the JFK, a more lucrative route for carriers travelling between the two countries.