Now that Haiti has closed its borders to all countries except the United States and Cuba due to fears of a spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), Bahamasair yesterday said that it has cancelled all of its flights into that country beginning today.
Bahamasair Managing Director Tracy Cooper said this measure would ultimately also mean the suspension of repatriations of
undocumented Haitian migrants, unless the governments of both nations come to some agreement.
“Bahamasair wishes to advise that the government of Haiti has suspended all flights coming into the country of Haiti with the exception of the U.S. and Cuba. So, effective immediately until they advise us further, we are letting all the public know that we will have to discontinue our flights into Haiti. We fly into two destinations, to Cape Haitian and to Port-au-Prince and our flights starting tomorrow will be cancelled until further notice,” he said at a press conference yesterday.
“Unfortunately for repatriation, once the government has said that we cannot come into the country obviously that will affect our repatriations as well. Obviously, that will be spoken to from our government to the government of Haiti, but as for Bahamasair and its regular flights, presently those are the suspended flights.”
Guardian Business contacted Minister of Immigration Elsworth Johnson and Director of Immigration Clarence Russell yesterday for comment, but neither responded up to press time.
Haiti is one of only a few nations around the world without any reported cases of COVID-19.
The nation announced on Sunday the shutdown of its border with the Dominican Republic and a suspension of flights from Europe, Canada, the Dominican Republic and Latin America, as well as a ban on international travel for its government officials.
While a typical flight from The Bahamas to Haiti costs $560 roundtrip, Bahamasair officials said the ban frees up a smaller aircraft that can now be utilized for travel to the United States and throughout The Bahamas for smaller travel loads.
“We do fly three flights a week and it varies in the size of airplanes based on the demand at the given time. Obviously at Christmas and in the summer it’s a little higher, but on the average we’re carrying roughly 35 to 45 passengers per round trip on a 50-seat aircraft,” Cooper said.
Paige started working as a business reporter in August 2016.
Education: Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2006 with a BA in Radio and Television News
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