CAL flight lands in Boston after storm, technical problem develops

(Trinidad Express) Caribbean Airlines passengers were left in Boston in the United States for several hours on Thursday after a winter storm prevented CAL flight BW524 from landing at JFK International Airport in New York.
The Express was informed that the flight left Trinidad around 9 a.m. and was expected to land at JFK Airport just after 1 p.m. However, bad weather forced the aircraft’s captain to land the plane at Boston’s Logan International Airport. What made the situation more stressful for the 116 economy class and five business class passengers was that after waiting for several hours for the weather system to clear up, they were told that BW524 could not complete its journey to JFK because of a technical problem. They eventually had to be driven to JFK via minivans organised by CAL.
In a statement yesterday CAL explained that the winter storm significantly impacted air travel in the US Northeast and the system rendered runway conditions in the New York area slippery and challenging for landings. “In fact; at 11.07 a.m. (Thursday), a Delta Airlines MD80 skidded off the runway at New York’s La Guardia airport closing this busy facility for a number of hours,” CAL said. “This closure caused many cancellations and diversions and put a strain on the operations at nearby JFK International Airport. As with many other aircraft heading to JFK, in an abundance of caution, our captain elected to divert the flight to Boston to refuel and wait for the weather to improve,” the airline added.
CAL explained that the passengers were kept on board and provided with snacks while the crew assessed the situation. Eventually the passengers had to be deplaned as Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) regulations state that passengers are not to be kept on board for more than four hours. “To further complicate the situation, Caribbean Airlines does not traditionally fly to Boston, and there were no handling agents to receive the Caribbean Airlines flight,” CAL said. “However, arrangements were made for a ground handler to meet the aircraft on arrival and allow passengers to disembark. This situation limited direct contact with the passengers and understandably, passengers were very concerned over this unplanned delay.”
It added: “It was during this period BW524 developed a technical fault which required a part from our maintenance provider,” CAL said. “This fault did not allow the aircraft to continue its journey to JFK, which had a ‘contaminated’ runway, partially covered in snow and ice. Caribbean Airlines could not secure same day road or rail transportation to get our customers to JFK as many other flights and airlines had similar issues.”
The airline said it was arranging hotel accommodation for passengers after they cleared US Customs and Immigration, with plans to get them to New York the next day. “At approximately 9 p.m., we secured ten Minivans to take our customers to JFK. On arrival at JFK International, Caribbean’s New York-based staff arranged taxis to take our customers home.”
CAL said late Thursday night the aircraft was serviceable but because of the lack of ground handling support and security at Boston Logan International Airport to process the passengers for re-boarding, the aircraft was ferried to JFK. “Consequently, return flight BW 525/06 March from JFK to Port of Spain, Trinidad was delayed just over seven hours.” The airline has apologised to all customers on flights BW524 and BW525 and has requested that they contact its customer experience representatives at customer-relations@caribbean-airlines.com.

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