Haitians vexed by cutting of direct flights to Port-au-Prince from major hubs

Getting to Haiti might be more difficult now that American Airlines is changing how their passengers will reach the nation’s capital.

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American Airlines is shaking up its flight schedule to Haiti and the move could greatly impact Haitians in Florida who will be inconvenienced by the move.

According to theMiami Herald, come Nov. 3, AA is reducing its direct flights to the country’s capital. Passengers will no longer be able to fly direct to Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince out of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport or New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, the airline announced Tuesday.

The carrier is reducing the number of daily flights from six to four — all departing from Miami International Airport and including a daily flight to Haiti’s second largest city, Cap-Haitien.

But he Haitian-American community isn’t pleased. Many around New York and Miami, the two U.S. metropolitan areas with the largest Haitian populations would be left with fewer options for flights to their home country.

Dear @AmericanAir, it’s high time you understand how to read a Haitian residency permit so your staff doesn’t think we’re out of the law. #Haiti#migration

— Amélie Baron (@Ameliebaron) August 20, 2018

So a 3 to 4 hour flight will become an all day excursion? What a mess @AmericanAirwhere is the loyalty towards a country where you have offered almost exclusive services at high price points? #Haitihttps://t.co/5NUbnATStg

— Patricia L. (@Asrhatel) August 21, 2018

I’m so done with American Airlines. https://t.co/pZVWLxeOBI

— Frantz H. Joseph (@fjoseph_OMG) August 21, 2018

Haitians in South Florida have come to rely on taking the carrier out of FLL-Hollywood because it gets travelers to the country early enough to avoid the Port-au-Prince’s congested traffic and back to Florida in the late afternoon.

Meanwhile, Haitians in the New York-Newark area have come to appreciate JFK’s direct flight that allows passengers to avoid long layovers in Miami.

“It’s a big loss for us,” said Guy Francois, Minister of Haitians Living Abroad, the Haitian government ministry dedicated to the diaspora. “But it’s an opportunity for other airlines to come aboard and provide direct service to Haiti.”

But American Airlines officials say it’s a smart business move for them.

“It just makes for much more viable economics,” said Peter Vittori, American’s managing director of sales for Florida, the Caribbean, and Latin America.

The Miami International Airport provides 62 connections for flights coming from Haiti. However, Vittori said the airline could not “count on any connections” at FLL-Hollywood or JFK where passengers are less likely to connect to another leg of a flight.

Earlier this summer, American Airlines was among several to cancel some flights to Haiti amid riots on the island over fuel prices,according to the Herald. Flights resumed July 8.


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