Dominican Airlines Sky Cana A321 shot at and damaged in Haiti 

SVVA Aviation / Wikimedia

An Airbus A321 has been shot at while arriving at Port-au-Prince Airport in Haiti, damaging the aircraft fuselage. The aircraft, operated by Avion Express Malta on behalf of Dominican Airlines-Sky Cana, nevertheless managed to land safely with no reported injuries among those onboard. 

Under flight number S65217, the jet originated from Santo Domingo Airport (SDQ) in the Dominican Republic where it departed at 10:12 on the morning of February 29, 2024. The aircraft was heading for Port-au-Prince Toussaint Louverture International Airport (PAP) in Haiti, where it was due to land 40 minutes later.  

However, as the aircraft landed and taxied towards the parking apron, it sustained damage from gunfire that had broken out in the area surrounding the airport boundary. Local reports state that ongoing disputes between rival gangs with territories situated around the airport were likely to blame.  


The violence, which targeted local police facilities and an auto dealership housing the Jamaican consulate, started early in the morning on February 29, 2024.  An armed gang knocked down the perimeter wall of the Haiti National Police Academy in downtown Port-au-Prince. By mid-morning, the attacks had spread and shots were fired in the vicinity of the city’s main airport. 

The gunfire reportedly left one person, a Haiti National Police officer, injured during an exchange of gunfire between gang members and police trying to quell the violence. The firefight also resulted in several aircraft being damaged on the airport tarmac.  

The violence resulted in the cancellation of flights by two US-based carriers – American Airlines from Miami (MIA) and Spirit Airlines from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) respectively. Additionally, at the time of the shooting, a New York-bound JetBlue Airways flight was preparing to take off from the airport, though the flight managed to depart undamaged.  

American Airlines later suspended its daily service between Miami and Port-au-Prince because of “the civil unrest”, according to spokeswoman Laura Masvidal speaking to the Miami Herald newspaper. “We will continue to monitor the situation with safety and security top of mind and will adjust our operation as needed,” she added. 

The damaged aircraft registered 9H-AME, is operated by Avion Express Malta under an ACMI (Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance, Insurance) lease agreement with Dominican Airlines-Sky Cana. The aircraft, an A321-231, is 19.8 years old, having first been delivered to now-defunct UK charter carrier Monarch Airlines in June 2004. 

The plane seats 220 passengers in an all-economy class layout and currently operates for the Dominican carrier displaying a special ‘Go Samana’ livery. According to ch-aviation, the aircraft is owned by aircraft leasing firm Avolon. 

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