American Airlines, Spirit Cancel Haiti Flights As Planes Hit By Bullets

Violent gang attacks under the direction of Jimmy Chérizier (“Barbecue”) on Thursday near Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti damaged several commercial aircraft while JetBlue took off, fortunately unscathed. American Airlines and Spirit Airlines cancelled their flights from Miami and Fort Lauderdale on Thursday.

Haitian carrier Sunrise Airways canceled flights as well after several of its aircraft were struck by stray bullets. This included a Havana-bound Airbus 320, which suffered damage while parked at the international terminal.

Gang members demolished a wall of the Haiti National Police Academy, located close to the U.S. embassy, and expanded into gunfire near the airport. A JetBlue Airways flight to New York JFK was preparing for departure. Violence also spilled over to Guy Malary domestic airport, where a bullet damaged a window and a chair.

Events occurred on the 20th anniversary of the coup that ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Chérizier took credit for the attacks, aiming to prevent Prime Minister Ariel Henry from returning to Haiti from a trip to Kenya where he committed to elections by August 31, 2025.

Haiti’s problems are often blamed on French colonialism and reparations taken by France after the country’s independence. But those were expunged in 1947. What’s striking is the economic divergence of Haiti and the Dominican Republic starting in the 1960s. The two countries started the period with a similar standard of living. The D.R.’s has grown eight-fold, while Haiti’s has not improved in 70 years. That’s suggestive, at least, that Haiti’s problems are home-grown including massive corruption. Disney used to manufacture there! It was largely replaced by the drug trade.

(HT: Enilria)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. No coverage by any other media. As SMR says, AA 819 on time this morning.

    Someone’s click baiting again.

  2. VFTW: “American Airlines and Spirit Airlines cancelled their flights from Miami and Fort Lauderdale on Thursday.”

    VFTW commenters: “Today’s flight is on time! This was click bait! No coverage by any other media!”

    Everyone else: “Today is Saturday. Article links to the other media (Miami Herald)”

  3. Haiti is a mess. Some years ago I took the bus from Santo Domingo (I have property in the D.R. and know that country well) to Cap Haitien which is in the far quieter northern part of Haiti. This was to see the immense fortress built on a nearby mountaintop. It was fascinating and there are hundreds of 18th century cannons around with the insignia of many monarchs–historians would love it, though I don’t recommend the trip today. But even then the taxi out there had a cage protecting the driver from robbery and murder.

    There are a lot of reasons why the two countries diverged. The U.S. occupied both in the 1920s (and the D.R. again in ’65) but that did little good. We did support the truly homicidal Papa Doc Duvalier in Haiti because he was “anti-Communist”, which kept the country good for tourism but did nothing to help the people. For the same reason we also put up with the psychotic Trujillo in the D.R. until his regime got so bad Washing was afraid that the country would go the way of Cuba. So at that point the U.S. (at least) looked the other way while he was disposed of by his own citizens. Since then the more populous, larger and just plain richer Dominican Republic has developed a strong economy in a reasonably stable country while Haiti has continued its downward path of chaos. There just is no foundation, functional national economy or history of stability here. It’s a tragic story repeated far too many times in the world today.

  4. Thanks Gary for posting this. Was reported yesterday in Miami Herald and in a Haitian news website. Unfortunately for other news organizations it really isn’t that much different newswise from the chaos and instability in Haiti over the past several years. I work with a non-profit that has been working in Haiti for 30 years on educational and medical project. People live from day to day, or sometimes hour to hour. What used to be safe neighborhoods are under gang control. The gangs have taken over the country and are terrorizing businesses and everyday people. The gangs don’t want the outside forces coming into Haiti who will wrestle control from them. It will be ugly though over the next couple of years and many casualties among the general population and not just the gangs. There will be a lot of collateral damage and deaths unfortunately. The gangs are well funded and well armed so it will not be easy.

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