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

TEXT SIZE - +

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

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest 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.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Russia Expels Canadian Diplomat

Reports say first secretary's expulsion in Moscow is in retaliation for deportation of Russian military attache from Russian Embassy in Ottawa
More

Photogallery Fans Pay Tribute to Gabriel Garcia Marquez in Mexico City

Colombian Nobel laureate author died in Mexico on Thursday at age 87
More

Venezuelan Protesters Burn Leaders in Effigy

Hundreds take to streets of Caracas Easter Sunday demanding ‘resurrection of democracy; President Maduro’s image among those burnt
More

Audit Finds US Housing Aid Program in Haiti Falls Short

Results show post-earthquake USAID program has delivered only a quarter of planned number of homes at nearly twice the budgeted cost
More

Mourning, Memories in Garcia Marquez's Languid Hometown

Nobel Prize-winning author's early years in Aracataca inspired characters, tales for major novel
More

Powerful Earthquake Rattles Mexico

US Geological Survey says quake measuring 7.5 on Richter scale, was centered in the western state of Guerrero, north of Acapulco beach resort
More