A British Airways Boeing 777 took off for Turks and Caicos yesterday for the first time since the island was struck by Hurricane Irma marking the airlines return to normal service in the Caribbean and Florida after they were disrupted by the worst hurricane to hit the region for decades.
Over the last ten days, the airline rearranged travel for more than 10,000 customers whose flights to the region had to be cancelled. In addition, the airline offered flexibility to more than 40,000 other customers so they could choose either to delay trips to the region or come home earlier.
Aircraft were positioned to Baltimore and Boston in preparation for the resumption of flights from Miami and for additional repatriation flights from Antigua. The airline laid on five relief flights as well as chartering four flights from the Caribbean airline, Liat, to connect customers in St Kitts and Turks and Caicos with British Airways flights.
More than 300 staff from across the airline were involved in planning these additional flights, helping customers change their travel plans and updates and support to customers in the region.
British Airways has been working with a number of charities to help the relief effort, including a charity that specialises in search and rescue called Team Rubicon. The airline flew relief experts and equipment from Team Rubicon to Antigua on Tuesday and continues to discuss how it can help communities affected by Hurricane Irma with aid agencies including Unicef and the Red Cross.
Klaus Goersch, British Airways’ chief operating officer, said: “We are now running our full flight schedules to and from the US and Caribbean for the first time in 10 days. This was the most complex and challenging set of hurricanes, with Harvey, Irma and Jose in quick succession, we have faced for a very long time. Our teams worked around the clock to re-organise flight schedules and relief flights, liaise with the nine airports affected, position aircraft and crew around the region, provide thousands of meals for flights at very short notice and resolve the travel plans of at least 10,000 customers.”
“It was a real international effort and we would like to thank all of our customers for their patience and understanding in very testing circumstances as the weather wreaked havoc across an enormous region.”