Haiti Airport under US Control to Accelerate Relief Operations

US has taken control of Haiti’s main airport to bring order in the skies to aid flights from around the world and accelerate relief operations, reported Reuters citing Obama administration.

Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) formally transferring operations to US at Toussaint L’Ouverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince, said report citing US State Department spokesman PJ Crowley.

“Obviously we will assume this responsibility as long as it’s appropriate and to the point where the Haitian government is able and ready to resume that capability,” Crowley was quoted as saying while talking to reporters.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton scheduled to visit Haiti on Saturday, said report.

After Tuesday’s quake that left around two lakh people dead, the modest airport became a bottleneck soon with world rushing help to the impoverished nation, said report, adding that a number of military and civilian flights loaded with food and water, medicine, and rescue crews poured into the small Haitian air space but many of them circled for hours before landing or were diverted.

The US Air Force landed on Wednesday and immediately worked with Haitian authorities and a team from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to restore navigation and communications capabilities. They also sorted planes on the ground and began to organize arrivals, report said.

But Haitian air space remained off limits through Friday to many flights approaching from overseas with little notice. Some planes bound for Haiti were diverted to the Dominican Republic and airports in Florida, the FAA was quoted as saying.

Aviation authorities were concerned that long approach delays could jeopardize onboard fuel supplies. Further complicating matters, the Port-au-Prince airport ran out of fuel, meaning any planes that landed would not be able to refuel for departure.

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