CAL tickets being sold but flight not approved
A May 20, 2020 Caribbean Airlines flight from New York to the AIA on which persons claim they have bought seats has not yet been approved for landing.
“This flight has not been approved. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, approvals are granted on a case by case basis if the operator meets all health requirements,” Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Argyle International Airport (AIA) Corsel Robertson told SEARCHLIGHT in an email last Thursday.
On Thursday May 7, SEARCHLIGHT received a copy of an e-ticket from a worker on an oil rig in Louisiana.
The ticket says that Caribbean Airline flight 553, Aircraft 73B, a Boeing 737-800116-134 will leave the John F Kennedy airport at 7:30 a.m. on May 20 and arrive at the AIA on Wed May 20 at 12:15 p.m. The travel time is four hours 45 minutes.
It was booked using the website CheapOair.
SEARCHLIGHT has been reliably informed that five Vincentians who work on oil rigs in Louisiana have already purchased these tickets.
The five are part of a group of 28 Vincentians who were last week asked to leave the United States (US) amidst difficulties being had by oil companies.
Despite being asked to leave, the workers, who are responsible for their own travel expenses, were not told by what means they should do so, as flights coming to the Caribbean have not resumed due to coronavirus restrictions.
One worker told SEARCHLIGHT that their handler in the US is adamant that they leave the country, but no assistance is being given to them to do so, nor are they being told how to go about making travel arrangements.
It was also noted that whatever work is available is being given to US citizens.
One worker said that despite getting an extension to remain in the country until later this year, the handler is insisting that they leave before the extension date.
On Monday, several of these workers tried to get tested for COVID-19 but were told that the tests were only being administered to US nationals. They were asked to seek a date when they could be tested.
“Most of us money running low because we not working, and COVID-19 have oil price down to nothing. We are frustrated,” one worker told SEARCHLIGHT.
Last week Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said he would investigate the matter.
Meanwhile, the AIA’s CEO is advising persons to check with the relevant authorities before booking flights.