A seven member team from the US FAA is working with the Haitian government and the US Department of Defense (DOD) to supply technical assistance for air traffic management after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti on 12 January.

In a statement the US Department of Transportation (DOT) says the FAA's team is working with DOD combat controllers to improve the flow of air traffic moving in and out of the airport.

The US Air Force reopened the airport on 14 January, and on 15 January its contingency response group was granted senior airfield authority for 72h at the Port-au-Prince airport starting around 15:00EST, says Lt Gen Philip Breedlove.

Senior airfield authority enables the Air Force to prioritise, schedule and control the airspace at the airport, and this should help increase capacity because the Air Force is capable of handling high-flow traffic, and is familiar with the various military aircraft landing at the airport, Breedlove said during a 15 January media briefing.

The airport should be able to accommodate between 20 to 30 widebodies and a myriad of smaller aircraft, he says.

Breedlove also says the US State Department has asked that the Haitian government extend the time that the Air Force has senior airfied authority at Port au Prince.

As part of its efforts to ease air transport to Haiti, the DOT is also granting exemptions from current aviation restrictions to allow for an expansion of the pool of available aircraft for charter, and is giving authority to operators of large private aircraft to carry supplies to the disaster area and help with evacuations.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news