Direct flight from Orlando to Havana takes off for the first time

Posted: 10-Jul-15 13:49

Last Wednesday 8th July saw the first of two weekly flights take off from Orlando to Havana. The first direct flight linking the two cities in several decades, the new charter operation is being run by Island Travel & Tours and the flights are carried out aboard a Boeing 737-400 aircraft operated by Swift Air. With capacity for up to 150 passengers, the new weekly flights take to Cuban skies every Wednesday and Sunday.

Direct flight from Orlando to Havana takes off for the first time

There was a lot of joyous flutter from Cubans arriving into Orlando International Aiport last Wednesday as they waited to check-in and board the first direct flight to Havana in nearly 50 decades of U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba.

Starting 8th July, a new twice weekly route flying between Orlando and Havana took off under the operation of Swift Air and run by Island Travel & Tours aboard a Boeing 737-400 aircraft.

With a flight time of just 90 minutes, the new planes flying to Cuba’s capital city from Orlando have a total capacity for up to 150 passengers, 12 which can travel in first class.

Jorge Estevez, a journalist working for WFTV, Channel 9, together with camera man and photographer, Octavio Torres, was one of the pioneering passengers at the Orlando airport boarding the first direct flight to Havana. He said:

“I feel very lucky to be able to go, I understand that these new flights are controversial for a few people at this moment in time. I never thought I would get to travel there as a journalist.”

A 16-year-old that has long been living in the U.S. declared she is not interested in politics in the very least (referring to the thawing of relations between the two countries) and all that she cares about is how happy it makes her that now it will be easier to see her family in the island.

“They’re all waiting for us over there. We bring gifts for all the family; we have to make the most of it”

This first flight took off with a total of just 50 passengers, according to William Hauf, director at Island Travel & Tours but he declared that the outlook for future flights look far more promising;

“We know each flight will have more passengers than the last and we hope that by the end of the year they’ll be running at full capacity and we’ll have to add more to the weekly frequency.”

Mr Hauf who was also on the verge of boarding this inaugural flight added:

“I’ve been to Cuba hundreds of times, I’ve been travelling there for 20 years.”


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