Haiti’s Main Airport Reopens After Months of Gang Violence

Exterior view of Haiti Toussaint Louverture International Airport
Photo Credit: Didier Moïse, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Haiti’s main airport reopened on Monday, 20 May 2024 for the first time since gang violence and general unrest forced its closure almost 3 months ago.

The main international airport, Toussaint-Louverture Airport, was closed by authorities in March 2023.

Airport Reopening Viewed with Caution

Located in the capital Port-au-Prince, the airport ceased operations due to relentless gang violence plaguing the area.

The closure has resulted in a critical shortage of medications and basic supplies, as Haiti’s main seaport also faced disruptions.

This reopening is seen as a vital step towards restoring normalcy and alleviating the strain on access to essential supplies.

The airport reopening is still being regarded with caution by international airlines. US carriers are not expected to recommence flight operations until late May or early June at the earliest.

This delay reflected the nature of ongoing international concerns about the general security situation in the capital of Port-au-Prince. Local gangs still maintain a strong control in the nation’s capital city, and the seaport remains closed.

U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James L. Harper Jr., U.S. Air Force.

Port-au-Prince Remains Under Gang Control

According to a CBS report, the gangs still maintain control of approximately 80% of the city. The gang violence, which originally began at the end of February, has spilled over into peaceful communities. The disruption has resulted in many in local communities becoming homeless.

The unrest stems from a dissatisfaction with the incumbent Prime Minister Ariel Henry, and dissidents have been calling for his resignation.

First Commercial Flight Operation

Local carrier Sunrise Airways was the first to resume flights, offering a connection between Port-au-Prince and Miami. So far this has been limited to only one flight operation which was flown on Monday.

Raoulbeck, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In March, due to the ongoing civil unrest and gang violence, all three US-based carriers flying into Haiti – American Airlines, JetBlue Airways, and Spirit Airlines – suspended their operations.

Whilst Toussaint-Louverture Airport has remained closed to commercial flight operations, US military aircraft managed to land and disembark supplies and civilian contractors in the last few weeks.

Despite these reservations, the reopening of Toussaint-Louverture Airport signifies one positive step for Haiti. It allows for the movement of essential goods and offers a renewed sense of hope for the country’s recovery.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 3 Min Read
3 Min Read
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