Air Canada and Air Transat have successfully repatriated stranded tourists in Haiti, who had been seeking shelter in hotels throughout the country for more than a week after violent protests erupted in Port-au-Prince.
Roughly 100 Quebec tourists were trapped in Haiti, confined to the quarters of the Royal Decameron Indigo Beach Resort & Spa, a hotel in Côte des Arcadins, Haiti, sold via Air Transat.
Air Transat brings 113 back to YUL
On Saturday (Feb. 16), Transat declared that its 113 travellers would be repatriated from the Royal Decameron Indigo Beach Resort & Spa in Haiti.
Air Transat Flight TS667, an Airbus A310 of 250 seats, was also carrying passengers with a ticket for a later travel date, as well as customers from another airline, and Canadian residents wishing to return home.
"Our clients, as well as their loved ones, have experienced a trying week, under a lot of uncertainty," says Annick Guérard, chief operating officer at Transat, who was on site in Port-au-Prince to accompany the travellers back home with Jean-François Lemay, president of Air Transat. "Since the rise of tensions in Haiti about a week ago, our teams have been mobilized and working hard to return our clients home safely, and as quickly as possible. In Haiti, Transat's representative also remained at the hotel 24/7 throughout the week to keep our passengers informed of the situation as it unfolded. We are relieved that these travellers are on their way to Canada, but we remain concerned about the current difficult situation in Haiti."
Transat's travellers were retrieved by helicopter with the first round of passengers brought to the airport at 9 a.m.
The evacuation was orchestrated by Transat, in collaboration with the local authorities, the Canadian Embassy in Haiti and the Canadian government, to ensure the safety of the passengers.
Until further notice, Air Transat will continue to operate two flights a week to and from Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince, on Wednesdays and Sundays.
Air Canada brings 209 home
Yesterday, Air Canada flight AC1815 departed Port-au-Prince, Haiti with 209 customers and 16 crew and support employees onboard a Boeing 767-300ER Air Canada Rouge aircraft.
"Air Canada Flight AC1815 has now departed Port-au-Prince safely and is enroute to Montreal. I thank our employees for their round-the-clock efforts to make today's flight a success, including their diligent efforts in challenging circumstances to reach out to Air Canada's as well as other airlines' customers seeking to return to Canada," said Craig Landry, executive vice-president, operations at Air Canada. "Our thoughts are with the Haitian people during this period of disturbance. Given the strong ties between our two countries, Air Canada has a long, proud history of serving Haiti and we intend to resume regular service as soon as it is safe to do so."
Air Canada normally operates two flights weekly between Montreal and Port-au-Prince, Haiti on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Following the Government of Canada's advisory to avoid all travel to Haiti, Air Canada's next scheduled flight on Wednesday to Haiti is cancelled.
Air Canada is monitoring this situation closely to determine when it will be safe to resume flights.