FAA extends ground stop to Port au Prince

Washington DC
Source:
This story is sourced from Pro
See more Pro news »

The US FAA has extended a ground stop through 18:00EST for all air traffic headed for Haiti's Toussaint L'Ouverture airport.

The traffic stoppage is a result of relief efforts and fuel shortages linked to the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck the Caribbean country on 12 January.

An air traffic advisory first issued at 10:00EST called for a ground stop of all aircraft destined for the airport due to "airport and airspace saturation".

Haitian airspace is currently open only to humanitarian aircraft and overflights are not being accepted due to "very limited staffing", says the National Business Aviation Association. The Google Map image below shows the relative location of Toussaint L'Ouverture (A) with respect to Miami (top left).

 
 ©Google

Haiti air traffic control says it is experiencing holding times of more than 2h for some aircraft, with the nearby airport Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic reporting "numerous" diversions at the facility.

The FAA was also reporting there were aircraft on the ground at Port au Prince without adequate fuel to depart and fuel was not available at the airport. Aid workers say fuel is available on ships but that the main seaport serving the airport area is closed due to earthquake damage.

Haiti air traffic control "is slowly accepting aircraft but unless aircraft begin to depart [Port au Prince] it is expected they will stop taking arrivals shortly", says the FAA, adding that there are reports of "approximately 10-12 aircraft" parked on the ramp at the airport with an additional 20 aircraft parked on the grass and surrounding areas".