Customs issue at TF Green delays disembarkation of Norwegian Air flight

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Norwegian Air passengers were stuck on the tarmac at T.F. Green Airport for nearly an hour Monday night due to an apparent scheduling issue with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The flight from Edinburgh, Scotland landed in Warwick at about 7:55 p.m., according to Norwegian Air spokesperson Anders Lindström.

Lindström released a statement saying Customs was not staffed upon arrival, and the passengers could not deplane until they were given the proper clearance.

“We have full sympathy for the frustrated passengers being held on the plane as there unfortunately is no customs staff to handle their arrival. As we understand, there’s been a misunderstanding in terms of staffing and the CBP (US Customs and Border Protection) is now working on getting staff in place to process the passengers of this flight, and one more Norwegian flight arriving this evening. We therefore hope to get clearing from the CBP shortly so we can allow customers and crew to deplane – until we get that clearing, we are not allowed by US regulations to let anyone off the plane.”

Bill Fischer, a spokesperson for T.F. Green, later confirmed the passengers began disembarking at 8:46 p.m. He attributed the delay to a “temporary operational miscommunication with Customs and Border Protection.”

The flight from Scotland to T.F. Green operates four times a week, according to Lindström.

Lindström said a flight from Shannon, Ireland landed at about 5:40 p.m. Monday and was processed by Customs accordingly. A flight from Dublin was scheduled to arrive just before 11 p.m. and according to Lindström, Customs has confirmed it will be staffed to process the passengers.