South African team delayed in Trinidad because of runway closure in Barbados

South Africa

The final of the T20 World Cup 2024 in the USA and the West Indies, a tournament already affected by logistical challenges and ambitiously short turnarounds between matches, has not been spared from operational issues.

A landing failure of a small private aircraft at the Grantley Adams airport in Barbados has resulted in the South Africa team, their families, commentators, match officials and ICC officials being stranded at the Trinidad airport. The Barbados airport was closed for inspections by the Civil Aviation Authority and the Barbados Police Service.

Moments before they were about to take off from Trinidad, the pilots received the information of the runway closure in Bridgetown.

“It appeared that the landing gear of the private aircraft did not deploy, but it is currently on the runway at GAIA [Grantley Adams International Airport] safely,” Sharleen Brown, Corporate Communication Specialist with GAIA, said in a statement. She confirmed that all three individuals on board – two passengers and a pilot – were unharmed.

Passengers on the flight from Trinidad to Barbados were told the tentative rescheduled time was 4.30pm, which would amount to nearly six hours of delay. All the boarded passengers had to return to the terminal, merely the latest addition to the many delays endured by teams at the tournament.

The worst was when Sri Lanka had to spend a whole night at the airport when travelling from Florida to New York. Even Afghanistan, who finished their last Super Eight match in the wee hours of Tuesday, had their flight delayed before playing their first T20 World Cup semi-final on Wednesday night.

This is the first time South Africa have made a final of a men’s World Cup. The final will be played on Saturday morning, as opposed to the usual tradition of playing on Sundays. That change meant the second semi-final, currently delayed because of inclement weather in Guyana, could not have a reserve day. Despite giving the two semi-finals the same amount of extra time to get a game in, the ICC has used different playing conditions if the matches needed to be shortened.

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