THE EDITOR, Madam:
In the wake of the recent heavy rains experienced last week due a potential tropical storm, a disconcerting video surfaced on Friday on X, formerly Twitter. The footage revealed Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) battling leaks, with brown plastic cans marked ‘NMIA’ attempting to contain the influx of water. This visual testament to the airport’s dilapidation raises concerns and warrants urgent attention. Up to recently, customers have also complained about seating shortages and air-conditioning issues at the airport.
The decision to entrust the management of our cherished airport to a foreign entity appears to have yielded unfavourable results. Unlike the notable transformation of Sangster International Airport, NMIA seems neglected under the current management. The iconic saying ‘first impressions matter’ rings true, and the leaky state of our airport is certainly not the introduction we wish for travellers.
The Ministry of Tourism’s ambitious plans to boost flights from various continents and expand tourism infrastructure clash with the current state of one of our primary gateways. It is disheartening to witness grand projections while the physical foundation of our airport crumbles. If Jamaica remains the ‘heartbeat of the world’, then a reconsideration of the airport’s sale is warranted.
The Ministry of Tourism must commit to substantial investments to elevate NMIA to world-class standards. A comfortable and efficient airport is pivotal in making a positive impression on travellers, and it should not be compromised. To compete with global counterparts like Singapore Changi Airport, Istanbul Airport, and Hamad International Airport, NMIA requires strategic upgrades.
As the international travel industry expands exponentially, Jamaica must position itself to reap the maximum benefits. This necessitates not only rescuing NMIA from neglectful management, but also transforming it into a beacon of excellence.