With a Boeing 737 flight from Miami to the Cuban capital on Monday the 28th, American Airlines took the lead over the other airlines from that country that have been creating this year steady routes to several points of the Cuban geography, after 55 years of suspension.
After landing in Havana, American Airlines executives said that that firm “operates more flights to Cuba than any other U.S. airline.”
Three days later, its rival, Delta Air Lines, took on a more far-reaching operation to Havana: it simultaneously opened three routes, from Miami, New York and Atlanta, where this company is based.
Héctor Ruiz, the general manager of the airline for Latin America in the United States, said that “for us, returning to the island with direct flights after 55 years is fantastic. We are in the business of opening skies and communicating persons and that is very important.”
Pedro Pablo Cordero, president of the Cuban Institute of Civil Aeronautics (IACC), said in a press conference days before that the American Airlines and Delta Air Line companies would be followed by JetBlue, United Airlines and Spirits Airlines.
José Zapata, Delta general manager for Central America and the Caribbean, announced that they will maintain 21 weekly flights on Airbus 320s and 159s, but they expect to incorporate larger-size aircraft when the demand increases in the summer season.
A month ago, Delta became the first airline to open a commercial office in Havana to sell tickets. Due to the restrictions of the U.S. economic blockade on Cuba, to do so the company needed a special permit from its country’s Department of Transportation.
The executives told the press that there is much potential to open flights to other parts of Cuba, but said that it is still early to make decisions.
The Cuban community abroad, mainly established in the United States, and even U.S. citizens have climbed to second and third place among visitors to Cuba, after Canada. The increase has been registered since the Obama government made flexible the possibilities of traveling to Cuba through 12 licenses. But the restrictions are still in place for traveling as tourists.
The regular flights between the United States and Cuba were re-established last August 31, when JetBlue inaugurated a route from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with the city of Santa Clara at reasonable prices. That airline, one of the leaders in the reestablishment of air connections with Cuba, later added similar flight to Holguín and Camagüey. It also plans to connect Havana with New York and Florida airports to make 42 direct weekly flights between both countries.
Silver Airways is another airline competing for the travel market to Cuba: it has inaugurated flights between Fort Lauderdale and the Cuban cities of Cienfuegos, Camagüey, Holguín and Santiago de Cuba, as well as several cays.
In February of this year, Cuba and the United States agreed to resume regular flights between the two countries, interrupted since 1961. The civil aviation agreement signed by both countries’ authorities previews up to 110 round-trip connections. (2016)
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