INCIDENT: Americans stranded abroad in Honduras due to border closures amid COVID-19 pandemic
LOCATION: Roatan and San Pedro Sula, Honduras
SERVICE: Emergency Aviation/Emergency Response
As governments around the world take ever far-reaching measures to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, borders are being shut, flights by major commercial carriers canceled, and travelers stranded.
On March 11, the same day that the World Health Organization (WHO) classified COVID-19 as a pandemic, Honduras confirmed its first COVID-19 cases. On March 15, the government closed its borders and the next day instituted a curfew that quickly became nationwide in an effort to stem the spread of the virus. With private carriers like Delta canceling their flights in and out the country, many Americans found themselves stranded and concerned about the ability of the hospitals in Honduras, already severely overstretched during normal times, to provide care should the situation deteriorate.
Upon being contacted with requests from Americans for emergency evacuation out of Roatan, an island off the northern coast of Honduras, and San Pedro Sula, the industrial capital, the Global Guardian team stepped in, working quickly to find a solution to bring these individuals to Miami.
The team immediately began working with the Honduran and US governments to secure the necessary permissions to fly in and out of Roatan and San Pedro Sula. On March 22 and March 24, Global Guardian evacuated a total of 323 people from Honduras to the United States amid border closures by the Honduran government due to COVID-19. The evacuations took place on three chartered flights from Roatan and San Pedro Sula to Miami.
Many passengers first learned about Global Guardian’s chartered flights on and stayed connected through a group on the social media platform WhatsApp. Global Guardian briefed passengers on the evacuation plans on Zoom, a remote conferencing service, in groups of 60. Within the days of being contacted and securing the necessary government approvals, Global Guardian set up an efficient payment system through which passengers secured their seats. By filling the three planes to near capacity, Global Guardian was able to pass on the cost savings to the passengers on these chartered flights. At an average $1300 per passenger, Global Guardian offered a cost-effective, safe, and reliable way to get home from Honduras during a time of crisis.
Throughout the event, Global Guardian’s Operations team maintained continuous communication with each traveler and points-of-contact to ensure that all those involved were apprised of the situation and fully supported. Thanks to Global Guardian’s well-placed network of international ground teams and our 24/7 Operations Center, situations like these can be responded to in real-time, providing a solution in a time.
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