Caribbean Airlines has announced a suspension of international fights, after the Government of Trinidad and Tobago went ahead to close all commercial services out of the country.
This imposed closure at the Piarco International Airport will take effect from 12:01h on Monday. However, in an issued statement, the airline stated that domestic flights will continue.
“Consequently, Caribbean Airlines must restrict its international flights. However, at this time its domestic operations will continue,” the carrier stated.
It went on to say that customers holding tickets for international services beyond March 23, 2020, can place them on hold for future travel. Presently, there is high traffic at the call centres due to the significant number of scheduled flights.
“Due to the high volume of calls the airline is currently receiving, there may be long waiting times to access the call centres. Caribbean Airlines remains committed to its customers and thanks all stakeholders for their continued support, as the company deals with this evolving and unprecedented situation.”
Headquartered in Trinidad and Tobago, the carrier provides its services across the region, especially in linking Caribbean states and North America. Prior to this closure, the airline had implemented a number of measures in preparation. Safety kits were placed in all aircraft and provisions were made for the air quality in cabins to be monitored. They were also continuing compliance with aircraft cleaning procedures, as well as sanitation.
The Trinidadian authorities on Saturday announced that 40 new patients tested positive for COVID-19 and were admitted to Couva Hospital.
Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said the new cases were detected after persons returned to the twin-island republic from a cruise to Guadeloupe. This elevated the number of confirmed cases to 49.
Since last Monday, American Airlines announced the suspension of all flights in and out of Guyana until May 6.
It was further announced that the airline will be waiving all change of date fees for those passengers already booked on its service. Meanwhile, short-haul flights to the Caribbean, Canada, Mexico, and parts of Central America will continue.
The US is now reporting close to 3000 cases of the coronavirus in 49 states, including the two cities where American Airlines operates daily flights to Guyana from. With Guyana now having five cases of the virus, health officials said that number is expected to climb.
On Wednesday, the Public Health Ministry gave confirmation of the fifth case – a relative of the 52-year-old female who travelled from New York and brought the deadly virus to Guyana. She would have succumbed but posthumous tests were positive for COVID-19.