Travellers trapped by the hundreds

News 10 September, 2017

    Dominique Lelièvre

    Saturday, September 9, 2017 10:53

    Saturday, 9 September 2017 19:23

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    Hundreds of canadian travellers were not able to be brought back to time by the carrier prior to the passage of hurricane Irma.

    While the violent storm raged off the coast of cuba, yesterday, Sunwing confirmed that the evacuation of his passengers was far from being completed, citing unexpected logistical.

    “Because of the volume [of passengers], closures of airports that are unexpected and logistics to move people by land to other starting points, we still have several hundreds of customers in Cuba,” conceded the chief marketing officer Marie-Josée Career.

    The company explained that it is one of the most important carriers to serve Cuba. “Unfortunately, Sunwing had the largest number of customers in Cuba than any other canadian airline at the time of the trajectory projected from Irma,” said the company in an e-mail sent to the Newspaper.

    The closure of the international airport of Varadero, on Friday night, has hindered efforts to Sunwing, she said.

    Travellers had to be moved by coach to Havana, where three special flights were to take off in the afternoon, bringing to 20 the number of relief flights made by the tour operator to Cuba in the last days.

    Taken to the islands Turquoise

    A hundred of vacationers, canadians have also had to contend with the elements Thursday night, to the Club Med of the islands Turquoise.

    Their companies, WestJet and Air Canada, were unable to evacuate before the closure of the local airport, reported that two tourists to the Log.

    “There was a big lack of communication. 7, we received a press release from West Jet, dated 6 to tell us that they were sending a plane to pick us up, but it was too late,” testified Elizabeth Nahas, a young woman of 25 years.

    WestJet claims to have made its possible since the threat of hurricane is known. “We are monitoring the situation closely, and we’ll send evacuation flights when the airports will be reopened and safe,” said spokesperson Lauren Stewart, stating that 18 flights of emergency had already been mobilized.

    For its part, Air Transat said it has made 23 special flights to evacuate 4,500 people, including passengers who had made their way to their destination with other airlines. Air Canada has not returned our email.


    For the strategist in communication Louis Aucoin, of the firm Tesla RP, this crisis will inevitably affect the air transport industry. The confidence of the travellers in respect of certain carriers has been badly shaken, ” he said.

    “When you’re on vacation, you are somewhat at the mercy of your tour operator, then he has a great responsibility to assume,” says Mr. Aucoin.

    The expert was particularly critical of Sunwing, the situation would be “dramatic”. “Sunwing has been unable to give the trust its customers in its ability to take care of them, it is serious for an air carrier,” he says.

    Conversely, it is estimated that Air Canada and Air Transat were better able to inform their passengers, including on digital platforms, ” he observes.

    – With the collaboration of Antoine Lacroix