News / Americas

Cheerful Haitians Return Home on First Commercial Flight Since Earthquake

Passengers checking in for American Airlines' first commercial flight out of Miami International Airport since the January 12 earthquake
Passengers checking in for American Airlines' first commercial flight out of Miami International Airport since the January 12 earthquake

Multimedia

Audio
  • George Hazy, American Airlines Vice President in Miami

At 4:00 a.m. February 19, American Airlines employees at Miami International Airport arrived at work to find over a hundred people - mostly Haitians - already lined up and eager to check in for the first commercial flight into Port-au-Prince, since the January 12 earthquake.

There was no pushing, shoving or shouting and rather than "doom and gloom" these passengers were cheerful as they eagerly stood in line, ready to check their luggage, collect boarding passes and go through security.

Why would anyone want to travel to Haiti now - considering the enormous amount of human and material devastation the Caribbean nation is facing?

This passenger said he is ready to go back and rebuild his shattered business in Port-au-Prince, 19 Feb. 2010
This passenger said he is ready to go back and rebuild his shattered business in Port-au-Prince, 19 Feb. 2010

"My family is in Haiti, my business is in Haiti," one passenger explained.  He said he goes back and forth between the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince and Miami every two months or so - until the earthquake hit. "Everything I had is shattered but I'm ready to rebuild."

"I feel like I'm ready to return home," another passenger said. "I know there's going to be a lot of emotion when I arrive, but I've been preparing for that for a few days now."

Others, like American mental health care official Amber Gray, from Santa Fe, New Mexico say they are returning to provide badly-needed medical assistance.  Gray said she has been traveling back and forth to Haiti for over a decade, and remembers fondly the Hotel Montana, pulvarized by the 7.0 magnitude earthquake.

"I love Haiti," she said. "And as corny as it sounds, despite everything that's happened to them, the people are still joyful, resilient and hopeful." 

Employees working behind the American Airlines counter were surprised to arrive at 4:00 am to find hundreds already lined up to check in, 19 Feb. 2010
Employees working behind the American Airlines counter were surprised to arrive at 4:00 am to find hundreds already lined up to check in, 19 Feb. 2010

American Airlines Miami Vice President George Hazy was very pleased that two completely full flights were smoothly dispatched, Friday.

"I feel wonderful! American Airlines is so happy to be going back to Haiti," Hazy said.  He said in addition to the two flights out of Miami this morning, they also had one out of Fort Lauderdale and one out of New York City. 

"We're happy to be back in Port-au-Prince," Hazy added.

On February 20, Air France and Air Canada will begin flights into Port-au-Prince too.

"Better get here early," advised a Haitian man, working as a baggage handler for American Airlines. "We'll have double the amount of passengers we have today."

You May Like

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

US Seeks to Break Up Drug Ring

Alleged drug ring accused of smuggling cocaine and laundering money from Venezuela to the United States
More

Senators Introduce Bill to End Ban on Americans Traveling to Cuba

Some Cuban American lawmakers strongly oppose Obama administration’s sudden shift in US policy towards Cuba, others say it is past time to end embargo
More

At Mexican Hospital, Rescuers Search for Blast Victims

At least 2 people killed and dozens wounded, including 22 children, when tanker truck explodes outside building
More

HRW: Security Measures Erode Human Rights Worldwide

New Human Rights Watch report cites Nigeria, Iraq, Syria, Israel and the United States among nations using security concerns to justify rights violations
More

Chilean MPs Approve Measure Allowing Civil Unions

Bill will give many legal rights afforded to married couples to about two million more Chileans - mostly unmarried heterosexuals but also gay couples
More

Don't Meddle in Our Politics, Cuba's Leader Warns US

Fomenting opposition to Cuba's government will undermine efforts at normalizing bilateral relations, he says at summit in Costa Rica
More