Passenger service will resume on Feb. 19 with American Airlines flights from Miami International Airport (MIA), Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood international Airport and New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport – less than four weeks after the repair and reconstruction work began at the badly damaged Toussaint L’Ouverture International Airport.
“All of us at American Airlines and American Eagle have been eager to restore our normal operations into Haiti,” said Peter Dolara, American’s Senior Vice President – Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America. “These flights serve as major milestones toward helping the country rebuild. With commercial air service restored, we can better connect loved ones and provide consistent transportation to and from Haiti.”
American Airlines initiative to quickly bring airport operations back prompted a visit to Port-au-Prince four days after the earthquake. Gilberto Neves, President and CEO of Odebrecht USA joined Dolara to tour the areas damaged by the event, which destroyed the capital's infrastructure and now ranks as one of the deadliest natural disasters of all time. An Odebrecht team was immediately assembled to assess damages and begin work. The team arrived soon after and efforts by a workforce that grew to 75 have not stopped since.
Partnering with American Airlines, and drawing on its significant experience constructing both the South and North Terminals at MIA, Odebrecht promised to deliver both a refurbished departures and arrivals terminal along with refurbishing the American Airlines cargo facility for passenger check-in and Customs and Immigration with a construction schedule of only three weeks.
The Odebrecht team began working round-the-clock to finish the job on time.
Departures and Arrivals – Three floors of an existing building that sustained minor damage were repaired to provide 23,000 square feet of terminal inbound and outbound capacity. In addition, repairs were made to three passenger loading bridges, three elevators and three escalators which are once again operational.
The existing American Airlines cargo facility was transformed into a one-floor, 13,000-square-foot processing terminal, and includes an operational baggage system, customs and immigration services, bathrooms and office space. Cargo functions were shifted to another building nearby.
With no construction supplies available in-country, importing raw construction materials and heavy equipment was the greatest challenge to overcome. Odebrecht tapped three sources in order to remedy the lack of materials. Materials were obtained in Puerto Rico and barged to the Dominican Republic where they were then trucked to Port-au-Prince.The company’s own operations in the United States and the Dominican Republic assisted with this effort sending construction equipment and supplies.
"Odebrecht cannot overstate the importance of our working partnership with American Airlines accomplishing this in three weeks," Neves said. "Without American’s support this facility would not be operational.” “Supplies were transported to Haiti via American Airlines flights from Miami and American Eagle flights from San Juan, Puerto Rico. American helped secure materials and shipping resources in San Juan. The airline provided transportation for employees working on the project and coordinated their housing, security and ground transportation in Port-au-Prince.”
In addition to its own employees, Odebrecht also mobilized a dozen carpenters from Commercial Interior Contractors of Miami, five electricians from Fisk Electric Company, some 30 Haiti based American Airlines baggage handlers who received training on site in basic construction techniques, as well as local subcontractors for significant parts of the project.
"This has been a genuine labor of love, but also one of absolute commitment," said Antonio Pinto, Odebrecht’s project executive leading the effort in Haiti. "In the most basic human terms, it is essential to reopen this airport and to reconnect the people of Haiti with their families and friends abroad."
"Odebrecht is honored to be a part of this important achievement."
Founded over six decades ago, Odebrecht has grown to be a global leader in engineering and construction services, laying the groundwork for positive, sustainable change on five continents. Today, the Odebrecht Group is a worldwide leader in providing engineering & construction, petrochemical and bio-energy services.
As part of the Odebrecht Group, Odebrecht USA opened its Coral Gables, Florida, office in 1990, and since then we have successfully delivered projects throughout the United States. Some signature projects completed include the American Airlines Arena, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, the Golden Glades interchange of Interstate 95, South Terminal at Miami International Airport and the Florida International University stadium.
Odebrecht has a particular emphasis on public-sector infrastructure projects of vital importance,
Beyond a variety of other Odebrecht currently is rebuilding and fortifying levees in New Orleans under contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which named it "Builder of the Year" in 1999 for Odebrecht's performance on California's Seven Oaks Dam, the largest floodwater prevention project ever built in America.
About American Airlines
American Airlines, American Eagle and AmericanConnection® serve 250 cities in 40 countries with, on average, more than 3,400 daily flights. The combined network fleet numbers more than 900 aircraft. American's award-winning Web site, AA.com®, provides users with easy access to check and book fares, plus personalized news, information and travel offers. American Airlines is a founding member of the oneworld® Alliance, which brings together some of the best and biggest names in the airline business, enabling them to offer their customers more services and benefits than any airline can provide on its own. Together, its members serve nearly 700 destinations in more than 130 countries and territories. American Airlines, Inc. and American Eagle Airlines, Inc. are subsidiaries of AMR Corporation. AmericanAirlines, American Eagle, AmericanConnection, AA.com, We know why you fly and AAdvantage are registered trademarks of American Airlines, Inc. (NYSE: AMR)