Haiti's main international airport has reopened after weeks of violence

Haiti / Photo EPA-EFE/Mentor David Lorens

Haiti's main international airport in Port-au-Prince has reopened, nearly three months after it was forced to close due to deadly gang-related violence.

A commercial flight left the capital on Monday and later landed in Miami, Florida. More flights are expected this week.

Haiti's transitional authorities hope that much-needed essential supplies - such as medicine - will now begin to arrive, and that trapped foreigners will be able to leave the impoverished country. But gangs still control much of the capital, and Haiti's main port remains closed.

Monday's flight was organized by the Haitian company Sunrise Airways, which entered into an agreement with the Florida-based charter airline World Atlantic. Takeoff was reportedly delayed for almost two hours, with passengers complaining of stuffy conditions on board. However, local residents said they were happy to be able to travel again.

"There are thousands of people who wanted to travel but could not travel for a certain time. I have my own tent in which I had to live for more than three months. A lot of people suffered," Rosemond Desire told AP TV News.

Until Monday, the only operational airport was in the northern city of Cap-Haitien. But many Haitians were unable to get there because of continued gang violence in and around the capital. US airlines are expected to resume flights to Port-au-Prince by late May or early June.

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