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Grounded cargo jets struggling to get airborne

Courier services are hoping they can clear the backlog of incoming parcels by this weekend after a series of aircraft breakdowns grounded several cargo shipments over the past week.

It led to an extraordinary e-mail apology from the IBC Bermuda/ZipX Team on Gorham Road this week after cargo jet Flight 245 was cancelled on two consecutive days owing to mechanical issues.

The team explained: “These cancellations are out of our control and have affected all courier services in Bermuda. We apologise for the inconvenience this may cause. Your shipments will be processed as soon as they are received locally.”

And Edward DeSilva, freight manager at Mailboxes on Bermudiana Road, said four cargo flights were cancelled in the past week, causing major problems.

He said: “On Thursday, February 3, the flight arrived hours late so we got no freight that evening. The next day the flight was cancelled.

“Therefore we had three bundles of freight on Monday’s successful flight.”

He believes there had to be a concentration of tasks at the airport dedicated to clearing perishables because there was no freight again Monday.

On Tuesday the cargo jet flight was cancelled again.

“We had a bunch of backed-up freight from the day before so that it didn't really matter — and our night squad powered through the triple on Tuesday evening to get us caught up,” Mr DeSilva said.

But frustratingly, Wednesday’s flight was cancelled again.

“Now we are backed up again,” Mr DeSilva said. “We were supposed to have three bundles on today’s [Thursday’s] flight but only two fit, so we will do a double again tonight. Assuming the plane isn’t broken tomorrow we will have another two bundles inbound tomorrow and we will do another double on Friday night to get caught up.”

IBC managing director Kevin Smith said the delays were disappointing.

“Thousands of dollars are on the line for sure,” he said. “We are trying to run a business and we understand and sympathise with our customers who are expecting goods in a timely manner.”

He said another cargo jet flight did not come in yesterday (Thursday).

“The crew yesterday [Thursday] were up early because the flight was delayed coming in here,” he said. There was also lost time because of inclement weather in Bermuda.

“So the crew need to rest,” he said. “But the good news is that the goods that should have arrived on Tuesday and Wednesday have cleared customs. We pre-clear customs. They should have been available for pick-up today.

He conceded that Boeing 767 from Newark, New Jersey, has been experiencing different mechanical issues.

“It is strange,” Mr Smith said. “We don’t normally go through this at all. They are normally very good.”

Cargo services struggling to get airborne (Photograph supplied)

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Published February 11, 2022 at 8:00 am (Updated February 12, 2022 at 7:36 am)

Grounded cargo jets struggling to get airborne

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