Kingston weather poor at time of American 737 overrun

While details on the American Airlines Boeing 737-800 overrun at Kingston remain sketchy, meteorological data shows poor weather conditions during arrival.

American’s timetable shows flight AA331’s scheduled arrival time is 21:10, but the carrier says the aircraft landed at 21:22CST, equating to 22:22 local.

Meteorological information from Norman Manley International Airport indicated heavy rain and possible thunderstorm activity at this time.

The airport has a single runway, designated 12/30, which has a length of 2,716m (8,910ft) but its virtually-offshore location – on a thin strip of land south of Jamaica – leaves little overrun margin at either end.

There is no confirmation of which runway the aircraft was using. While there is an instrument landing system for runway 12, the weather data indicates that this would have required landing with a tail wind.

NOTAM information, dated today, shows that the airport has restated the runway distances available to aircraft, and introduced a displaced threshold on runway 30.

American states that two of the 148 passengers were admitted to hospital for observation, but all others have been released. The jet, arriving from Miami, was also carrying a crew of six.

Damage to the 737 is substantial. Its fuselage has fractured aft of the wing, its right-hand CFM International CFM56 engine has separated and the left wing-tip has snapped.

By David Kaminski-Morrow