U.S Airlines battle it out for new commercial flights to Cuba

Posted: 05-Mar-16 10:30

U.S airlines have been battling it out this week for commercial flights to Cuba in the first round of the competition. American Airlines are keen to operate flights between Miami and Cuba, and the company filed a request with the Department of Transportation for 18 flights a day between Miami and several cities on the Caribbean island.

U.S Airlines battle it out for new commercial flights to Cuba

The competition has started for U.S airlines who are looking to operate flights between the United States and Cuba.

Airlines had until 5pm on Wednesday this week to file their route applications with DOT (Department of Transport) for services between various U.S airports and cities in Cuba.

After a few more rounds between the airlines and DOT, the agreed routes are expected to be announced in the late spring or early summer, and commercial flights could commence as early as autumn this year.

American Airlines has been battling for Miami International Airport (MIA) as its main hub for flights to Cuba, and the airline filed a request for 18 daily flights between Miami and several cities in Cuba.

The airline requested 10 daily flights to Havana, two daily services to Santa Clara, Holguin and Varadero, and one daily flights to Camaguey and Cienfuegos. American also is looking to provide daily flights between Havana and Charlotte and Dallas/Fort Worth, and weekly flights from Chicago and Los Angeles.

"In many ways American has been preparing for this day for decades."

Explained Doug Parker, the Chairman and CEO of American Airlines. Mr Parker continued:

"Miami-Dade County is the heart and soul of the Cuban-American community and no airline has made a greater commitment to Miami-Dade than American. We've built a world-class gateway hub in Miami."

The airlines are competing for 20 daily flights to Havana, and 10 daily services to Varadero, Santa Clara, Santiago de Cuba, Holguin, Manzanillo, Camagüey, Cayo Coco, Cayo Largo, and Cienfuegos, bringing a total of 110 daily flights to Cuba.

Havana is the most sought after route, and Delta Airlines has filed a request for five daily flights from Miami, Atlanta, New York and Orlando airports.

JetBlue is keen to make Fort Lauderdale its hub, and it has requested four daily services to the Cuban capital, and one daily flight to Camagüey, Holguin, and Santa Clara.

Silver Airways is asking for several flights to Havana from five cities in Florida: Key West, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, and Fort Myers/Naples. The airline has expressed interest for services to nine other Cuban destinations from Fort Lauderdale.

"Silver Airways is making a substantial commitment to both the people of Florida and Cuba as we look forward to bridging the large Cuban-American populations in Florida to every destination possible in Cuba."

Stated Sami Teittinen, the Silver President and Chief Executive. Mr Teittinen also explained:

"While many airlines will apply to serve the large, lucrative Havana routes, Silver is applying to provide convenient, direct service to all 10 Cuban destinations."

On 16th February, 2016, the United States and Cuba signed an accord on civil aviation that will also allow reciprocal services provided by Cuban air carriers, but it is unlikely that Cuban-owned aircraft will be used in the near future.


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