BY: EMMANUEL ROY
TRUENEWSBLOG – AMERICAN AIRLINES recently announced that beginning May 9 this year, it will cut the once a day flight from MIA to PAP from seven to six days a week. This reduction of available seats will cause the price to increase exponentially. Laura Masvidal, a spokeswoman for American Airlines, said. “We are currently operating one daily flight between MIA and PAP. However, due to soft demand on our MIA-PAP service, on May 9, we will reduce our service to six weekly flights until August.”
This announcement came after American Airlines began flying a smaller Airbus 319 with 158 seats instead of a Boeing 737 with 198 seats on its Miami-Port-au-Prince route. The loss of the 40 additional seats was felt almost immediately as one-way flights out of the Haitian capital shot up to anywhere between $1,091 with a week’s planning to $3,404 for last-minute airfare. Meanwhile, tickets from Miami to Port-au-Prince are as low as $124.
The price for a one-way business class from Port-Au-Prince to Miami is about $3,000, but the same seat from Santo Domingo next door to Haiti is only $492. This phenomenon is familiar to Haitian travelers from Haiti to the United States, who often pay more for airline tickets than their counterparts in the Dominican Republic traveling the same distance.
This reduction will be more economically painful for travelers because it coincides with the higher demand among Haitians looking to fly out of the country, especially those who have qualified to travel to the United States under President Biden’s recently launched two-year humanitarian parole program.
The reduction comes as a shock to many travelers who are accusing American Airlines of “price gouging,” comparing the situation in Haiti to Ukraine and asking whether American Airlines would charge Ukrainians $3,400 to fly to the United States.
John Cazeau, a Haitian American, tweeted, “Stealing money from people fleeing a war zone should be illegal. They are applying the same economic principles of the Western world to a destitute and failed state,” he said. “Imagine AA asking Ukrainians to pay $3,400 to fly out of a war zone ….How can AA justify that fair? Please enlighten me.”
The situation in Ukraine is vastly different from Haiti. Ukraine was invaded by another country. Ukraine is at war defending its way of life. The situation in Haiti was created by Haitians, supported and sponsored by ARIEL HENRY, the current prime minister of Haiti.
Criminal gangs have practically taken over the country, and the threats of kidnapping and gang violence are affecting everything. Though AA does not cite insecurity as a reason for cutting back flights, but one can assume that insecurity plays a part on AA decision to reduce flights to Haiti.
When something like that happens, we often blame the business or the corporation. Airlines are in business to make money, and whenever they find a way to increase profit at the detriment of those who can ill-afford it, they will do. It is not progressive or smart to cry “price gouging” or “poor me” but one must create a situation that makes Haiti economically stable and secure, just like the Dominican Republic. Instead, you will see a positive change in how a company behaves that will benefit all of us.
American Airlines has been taking advantage of Haitian travelers for decades because Haitian officials make it possible for them to do that. An airline ticket from American Airlines from Haiti to New York is three times as much as a ticket from Santo Domingo to New York for roughly the same distance. Certainly, there is more competition and less volatility in the Dominican Republic. However, with such high airfares, Haitian travelers bound for the U.S. have no choice but to pay more or fly to Santo Domingo, where the price for one way ticket to Miami is reasonably priced at $260.