(KAIETEUR NEWS) — Although Suriname has announced a total shutdown of its airspace and borders from March 14 to March 21, 2020 in the wake of its first confirmed case of COVID-19, provisions are being made to facilitate some travellers.
This is according to a statement issued by Caribbean Airlines, which revealed that as a result of this development, an announcement was issued Friday by the Surinamese government that after midnight all such flights will be conditional.
Moreover, specially approved flights will accommodate the arrival of Surinamese nationals only. Non-Suriname nationals will be accommodated on a separate departure flight.
According to Caribbean Airlines, too, passengers expected to travel during the shutdown dates are advised to contact Caribbean Airlines reservation offices for rebooking on the next available service.
Caribbean Airlines can be contacted at 868-625-7200 [Trinidad & Tobago]; 1-800-920-4225 [Toll-Free North America]; 1-800-744-2225 [Toll-Free Caribbean] and 1-888-359-2475 [Jamaica].
Around 6:30 pm on Friday, March 13, 2020 all airlines operating into Suriname were advised by notice [SMJP A0009/20] that the Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport, also known as Paramaribo-Zanderij International Airport Suriname, will be closed.
During the period of the airport closure, Caribbean Airlines said that its flights will be impacted. Affected customers are being contacted.
To minimise inconvenience to customers holding confirmed tickets for travel to and from Suriname from March 14 -21, 2020, Caribbean Airlines said that it will be allowing persons whose travel plans are impacted to rebook without charge fees.
This, however, will be subject to conditions including waiver of all fees for tickets rebooked in the same cabin, for travel up to June 30, 2020; refunds will be based on the applicable fare rules; it is mandatory that customers contact Caribbean Airlines BEFORE the scheduled date of travel; ability to use ticket for one year from date of issue, for tickets booked on/before March 31, 2020 for travel up until June 30, 2020.
“No date change fee will apply. However, if there is a difference in fare, fees will apply,” the airline noted, adding that “ALL changes MUST be made through Caribbean Airlines Call Centres or at Caribbean Airlines Ticket Offices”.
In a statement, the local Ministry of Public Infrastructure informed that “The Management of the Guyana/Suriname Ferry Service wishes to advise the general public that its services will be suspended from Saturday, 14th March, 2020 until further notice”.
The decision, it was noted, was made by the Surinamese authorities to close all ports of entry after the country recorded its first case of the novel coronavirus.
Given the development, the management of the Guyana/Suriname Ferry Service has apologised for any inconvenience caused and has advised that persons seek further information by calling 339-2744.
The victim recorded by the Suriname health authority, this publication has learnt, is a 19-year-old who recently travelled from Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Reports suggest that KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has plans to send a flight to Suriname to collect Dutch passengers stranded in Suriname.
The confirmation of the virus has caused many people to descend on supermarkets and other shopping outlets to purchase food items and safety gear.
There have also been calls by teachers and labour organisations for a “total shutdown”, a Surinamese told this publication. It was also revealed that all mass gatherings have been suspended including private functions such as weddings and parties.