AILA: Copa and Arajet flights see increased occupancy from Haitian travelers amidst border closures

Santo Domingo.- Since President Luis Abinader ordered the closure of the border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, there has been a noticeable rise in the number of Haitian travelers departing from the Las Américas International Airport (AILA) to various countries in Central and South America.

Authorities at the AILA terminal have observed a significant presence of Haitian nationals, including whole families, boarding flights heading to destinations like Costa Rica, Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, and Nicaragua. These flights are operated by Arajet and Copa Airlines, airlines that provide specific services from AILA to these destinations. Both airlines have designated queues for Haitian travelers.

Many of these travelers are Haitian middle-class individuals, with some residing in Santo Domingo and others having arrived in the Dominican Republic shortly before the border closure was implemented.

An executive from one of these airlines reported a considerable increase in reservations made by Haitian nationals. These reservations are not only for the mentioned countries but also for other nations, particularly in Central America. Flights are operating at full capacity and frequently carry entire families.

The closure of air, sea, and land operations between the Dominican Republic and Haiti was put into effect as a result of President Abinader’s decision. This decision was motivated by the Haitian government’s construction of a canal over the Masacre River, diverting water towards Haiti at the expense of Dominicans, especially those residing in the province of Dajabón. This situation has led to an increase in Haitian travelers seeking to depart for other destinations in Central and South America.

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