21 May 2024, 08:39

Airport reopens in Port-au-Prince after 11 week closure

PORT-AU-PRINCE, May 21, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - The international airport in Haiti's capital reopened for commercial flights on Monday, some two and a half months after it was forced to close due to gang-fueled violence.

So far just a single airline, Sunrise Airways, has announced a resumption of flights, between Port-au-Prince and Miami, Florida.

A flight bound for the southeastern US city left Toussaint-Louverture airport on Monday afternoon, Sunrise told AFP, the first departure since the closure in March. Amid the violence -- which continues to rock the capital -- the airport itself had previously come under fire.

Passengers, with luggage in hand, were seen lining up at the airline's counter.

Sunrise said its flights were currently scheduled for Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

American Airlines, for its part, told AFP its flights in and out of Haiti were currently suspended until May 29 due to "civil unrest" in Port-au-Prince.

"We will continue to monitor the situation with safety and security top of mind and will adjust our operation as needed," the carrier said.

Toussaint Louverture International Airport had been closed to commercial flights since early March, following coordinated attacks by gangs who said they were intent on overthrowing then-prime minister Ariel Henry.

Henry, who has since resigned, had himself been unable to return home while abroad in Kenya at the time of the attacks, due to insecurity around the airport.

A transitional ruling council has since taken Haiti's reins, with one of its chief missions to appoint an interim prime minister, as well as to restore a semblance of order.

Kenya will shortly deploy police officers to Haiti to lead a UN-backed multinational mission aimed at tackling the gang violence that has plagued much of the capital.

An official Haitian source told AFP that senior Kenyan officers had already arrived in Haiti on a reconnaissance mission.

A first contingent of Kenyan police could be deployed this week, coinciding with a state visit the United States by Kenyan President William Ruto.


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