Pivot Air crew detained in Dominican Republic since April could return home soon: CEO

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Pivot Air's chief executive says paperwork filed in a Dominican Republic court today could allow the airline's five staff kept in the Caribbean nation since April to return home soon.

Eric Edmondson says the paperwork is still pending final court sign-off, but begins a process that will grant the crew who have been detained for 220 days the necessary government documentation and approvals to fly home.

Edmondson adds he does not have a timeline for the return of the workers because the case has already faced unforeseen delays, but he urged Dominican Republic authorities to work quickly on the matter.

Pivot Air's crew has been held in the Dominican Republic with seven passengers since April 5, when 200 kilograms of cocaine were discovered in the plane's avionics bay and reported to police in Punta Cana.

Following the discovery, several unions representing the crew say their members were arbitrarily detained, threatened and prosecuted despite following Transport Canada protocols and international laws.

The crew members — two pilots, two flight attendants and one part-time maintenance engineer on a Pivot Airlines charter flight — were jailed then later released on bail after surrendering their passports pending further investigation.

"We are deeply relieved that these five Canadians will soon return home to their families and loved ones. We are grateful for their courage, resilience, and honesty throughout this devastating ordeal," said Edmondson, in a statement.

"Pivot Airlines is continuing to work closely with the Government of Canada, the crew’s unions, and our legal counsel to ensure the crew is brought home safely and reunited with their families as soon as possible.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 11, 2022.

The Canadian Press