International travel restrictions due to the pandemic have left thousands of people unable to return to their home countries here in South Florida. But thanks to an ongoing humanitarian initiative by Spirit Airlines, more than 7,500 people have been reunited with their families.
Starting in April, the Miramar-based airline began organizing flights between eight countries, including Colombia, Honduras, Panama, Ecuador and Aruba. Working with governments and embassies, and following health guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Spirit already has coordinated more than 60 such flights—with another 20-plus flights slated between June 1 and June 20.
“As an airline, we connect people,” says Camilo Martelo, director of airport services for international stations at Spirit Airlines. “It has been so rewarding to continue to do that by helping people get back home and reunite with their family members. What started out as a few humanitarian flights has reached an incredible milestone. We will continue to work proudly with government officials through the current travel restrictions and border closures to help people trying to make their way back home.”
Spirit asks that guests needing to return home contact their country’s embassy in that location about the airline’s continued efforts. In June, Spirit has flights slated for Cartagena, Port-au-Prince, Bogota, Cali and other destinations.
The airline has elevated its cleaning procedures on all flights, with increased cleaning onboard and extra focus on high-frequency touch points (handles, seatbelt buckles, tray tables, armrests, etc.). Spirit’s all-Airbus fleet also is equipped with state-of-the-art high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters that capture 99.97% of particles and filters the air for contaminants every 3 minutes.