Air France offers additional direct flight to Havana

Posted: 27-May-15 09:30

Following the French president, Francois Hollande's historical visit to Cuba this month, Air France has announced the addition of another weekday direct flight to Havana. As Cuba's tourism industry begins to thrive and its relations with US improves, France is said to be actively courting the Caribbean island with French businesses like Air France and Accor looking to strengthen ties with Cuba.

Air France offers additional direct flight to Havana

Air France has announced that from October 2015 it will operate an additional weekday flight to Havana (HAV), bringing its total number of direct flights to Cuba from France during winter 2015 to 11.

Air France's announcement comes on the heels of French President Francois Hollande's highly publicized visit to Cuba aimed at forging stronger ties between the two countries. Many have noted that with US- Cuba relations improving and its tourism industry flourishing, France, along with several other EU markets, is eager to court Cuba.

President Hollande and his delegation of French business executives' visit to Cuba has been viewed as a major milestone in EU-Cuban relations with Hollande now the first Western European leader in office to visit Cuba since 1986. During his trip Hollande called for an end to the US trade embargo on Cuba and stated to students at Havana University:

"Anything France can do to make sure... the opening is confirmed, so that the measures that have so harmed the development of Cuba can be rescinded so that the identity of each country is respected, this is what has to be done".

Air France has been operating routes to Cuba for the past 17 years and since then the airline has become the leading provider for European travellers flying to Cuba. In May 2014 officials from Air France and the Cuban airline Cubana signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for commercial cooperation between the two firms.

Already Cuba is a popular destination for French holidaymakers. In 2014 of the three million visitors to Cuba, 100,000 were reported to be French citizens, now with strengthened ties between the two countries and Cuba's tourism industry on the rise these figures are expected to improve in the coming years.

Other French firms, including hotel chains Accor and Warwick International Hotels (WIH), are also said to be eager to invest in Cuba. Accor has expressed hopes of developing a 518 room luxury hotel in Cuba while WIH has been contracted by the local player Gaviota Group to manage the Cayo Santo Maria Resort in Jardines del Rey. WIH is also expected to open the Naviti Resort in Varadero 140km east of Havana.


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