Report: Airlines Suspend Haiti Travel, Start Aid Efforts

photo by Ruthanne Terrero, taken at Miami airport

Reuters is reporting that U.S. airlines and package companies suspended commercial flights to Haiti on Wednesday and launched relief efforts along with aviation authorities who sought to revive airport operations.

According to the report, American Airlines flew its last commercial flight from Haiti to Miami on Tuesday night just after the earthquake struck. Many of the passengers aboard Flight 1908 opted off the aircraft amid the quake's aftermath, an airline spokeswoman said. The plane took off with 49 passengers after the runway was checked for damage.

American scheduled three relief flights on Wednesday to the capital, Port-au-Prince. Each carried 10,000 pounds of supplies for the airline's 100 employees in Haiti as well as materials for local hospitals. American has scheduled another three relief flights for Thursday, the company said.

Other commercial carriers, including Continental Airlines, said they were ready to help. Continental doesn't fly into Haiti. Also, American and private Spirit Airlines, which also canceled it flights, set aside frequent flier miles in exchange for Haiti relief donations.