The recent engine failure of a Fly Montserrat aircraft en route from Montserrat to Antigua is the latest in a series of safety concerns to do with this airline. Special commendation must be given to the pilot of that flight, Captain Jamilla Jeffrey, for bringing all her training and skillset to the fore in guiding the aircraft and passengers safely to ground at the VC Bird International airport. She is hero no doubt. She deserves all of our nation’s prayers and gratitude.
I firmly am of the view that societies cannot advance and development without having difficult conversations that bring about varying perspectives and solutions on how to move tough situations forward towards change, or a resolution.
I am also of the view that societies cannot advance if these difficult conversations become repetitive in nature, with little to no change to show for all the talking. It then would appear that we are talking to either hear the sound of our own voices, or to see our names in print.
The issue on Montserrat regarding Fly Montserrat’s continued safety mishaps and incidents would appear to be one such situation of repetitive talking over an age-old problem, but little to no change to show for it. How many more incidents would Fly Montserrat need to record over the safety of its aircrafts before someone in authority puts a firm hand on the management of Fly Montserrat, on behalf of the people of Montserrat, and demand they do better.
The safe landing of the aircraft in Antigua does not take away from the larger issue of accountability from the management of Fly Montserrat to do with the safety of its aircrafts.
It does not bode well for Montserrat, already locked in by having only one mode of transportation into and out of the island, with the present government in power having taken away the ferry under deeply questionable circumstances. So here we are, with access again being under the spotlight and a key provider of airlift to the island is once again under the microscope for safety concerns.
Government after government have failed the people of Montserrat in not doubling down and addressing the question over the safety of Fly Montserrat’s aircrafts.
Questions are plenty over this airline. For instance:
How old are the aircrafts in use?
What is this kerfuffle over a hangar space that was promised for aircraft maintenance not being fulfilled?
Why has Fly Montserrat’s Management not followed through on their promise to have Twin Otter aircrafts as part of their operations like they promised they would have when they received national funding?
How does the Government of Montserrat, as Fly Montserrat’s largest shareholder, hold the management of the airline to account?
Does a member of this present government have a vested business or personal interest in Fly Montserrat?
Why was a sitting Minister of this government at a Fly Montserrat board meeting with no explanation provided by this Minister nor the Premier to date?
There are lots of questions - pertinent and immediate questions that need to be addressed around this airline.
Since the incident yesterday, has any Government Official addressed the people of Montserrat or even put out a statement allaying the fears of the travelling public?
Fly Montserrat, under the leadership of Nigel Harris cannot be seen to be getting away with having repeated incidents ever so often and yet they receive a tap on the shoulder to behave, then simply go back into service.
There has to be sustained pressure put towards the management of the airline in order for significant change in their operations to take place. It cannot only be a social media chatter each time this airline’s safety record comes up for questioning. There has to be official pressure at a higher level being on Fly Montserrat. If no one in authority is leading that charge, then it clearly demonstrates that no one is serious about taking leadership on this issue and holding Fly Montserrat to account.
Enough already of the excuses over safety. Do something!
Once more, well done to Captain Jamilla Jeffrey for her stellar job yesterday in ensuring the passengers safety.