American Airlines unveils its Los Angeles-Havana charter flight

Posted: 14-Dec-15 17:47

For the first time in more than 50 years, Los Angeles' International Airport will offer charter travel to Cuba via American Airlines. If this move is as successful as anticipated, it could open up a whole host of opportunities for American citizens looking to travel to this stunning island.

American Airlines unveils its Los Angeles-Havana charter flight

In a landmark move that opens up further opportunities for US citizens to travel to Cuba, American Airlines has commenced its first chartered service to the island from Los Angeles (LAX).

The move comes almost a year to the day that President Obama announced that diplomatic relations between the pair were set to be renewed.

It has been possible to travel by air to Cuba from the US in the past – charter flights from Florida have been available for more than two decades – but these have operated via a loophole; with specially-licensed charter companies handling the transaction.

And so this new flight programme, which departs from LAX and arrives at Havana's Jose Marti International Airport (HAV), will be the first official ‘commercial' flight between the US mainland and the island to offer air travel for passengers who possess one of the twelve licenses required to enter Cuba.

This is just the first in what is expected to be a number of charter flights to operate between America and Cuba, with forecasters predicting that nearly ten million US citizens (which is ten times the current number) will travel to the island as soon as travel restrictions are lifted completely. This will do wonders for the Cuban economy of course, and allow Americans to experience the wonders of the island for the first time in more than five decades.

This will have a knock-on effect to other areas of the travel industry too, with accommodation site Airbnb already reporting a huge increase in the number of Cuban properties listed on its website.

"We were really surprised by the quick uptake, especially since we hadn't done much promotion in Cuba."

Said Kay Kuehne, Airbnb regional director in Latin America, told the Miami Herald. By June this year there were more than 2,000 properties listed as available on the portal; double that of the start of 2015.

Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, presented a ceremony before American Airlines' debut flight on Saturday December 12, and this in itself marks just how important this new chapter in relations between the US and Cuba is. And American Airlines themselves cannot wait to expand their net further.

"We stand ready to offer scheduled service as soon as the United States and Cuba allow commercial flights."

Revealed company's senior vice president, Art Torno.


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