Havana becomes Southwest Airlines’ 100th city

Posted: 16-Dec-16 12:04

Almost like a surreal dream come true for a small U.S. airline that only started flying internationally a couple of years ago, it seems ironic that it would celebrate its 100th destination with their launch of direct flights to Havana, and that it would be the Cuban capital that would see it reach its 100th city. Yet this is exactly what happened on Monday, with the U.S. carrier launching three daily return trips to Havana, two departing from Fort Lauderdale and one from Tampa.

Havana becomes Southwest Airlines’ 100th city

For Southwest Airlines to celebrate Havana as its 100th destination milestone is like celebrating two incredible feats in one, especially since it’s only just been a couple of years that the airline started flying outside the U.S., but also flying direct routes to Cuba from the U.S. was not just unlikely but completely impossible a few months back, before the DOT approved commercial U.S. flights to the island.

Thus, Southwest Airlines has much to celebrate indeed as not only is it fully allowed to operate two daily return flights to Havana from Fort Lauderdale and from Tampa, but it nowadays flies to a total of nine countries, including the United States.

It was only in July 2014 that Southwest Airlines made its first flight abroad, using its own aircraft and flying an international route for the first time since its foundation in 1971. Havana being the city that marked its hundredth destination seems the most unthinkable of all but is now a solid reality thanks to Obama’s efforts to normalise relations with the island since his rapprochement speech in December 2014.

Southwest has been flying to Cuba direct since November this year, with their service connecting the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport to the popular beachfront city of Varadero in the province of Matanzas.

But it doesn’t end here either, as the American carrier is gearing up to its next Cuba launch, coming just days after its Havana debut on 11th December and connecting the airline’s Fort Lauderdale base to the eastern Cuban city of Santa Clara starting 15th December.

Southwest Airlines’ Vice President of Ground Operations, Steve Goldberg, spoke confidently of the airline’s future in Cuba and beyond:

"By the end of this year, we'll offer six daily roundtrips between two Florida gateways and three Cuban cities as the work continues to open a new, five-gate international concourse here in Fort Lauderdale next summer,”

With this move, Southwest solidifies its position as one of the main U.S. airlines flying to three of Cuba’s most popular destinations, including its coveted capital city, which is also serviced by six other American carriers: JetBlue, Delta, American Airlines, United, and Frontier.


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