American Airlines underlines Cuba as one of its most important destinations

Posted: 11-Feb-18 10:40

According to details recently revealed to Sputnik, American Airlines continues to bet strongly on the Cuban market, having just applied to the DOT for a further 17 new weekly frequencies connecting Havana and Miami. The news was voiced by AA´s Manager of Corporate Communications in Miami, Martha Pantin, who made the announcement from Havana's Melia Cohiba hotel.

American Airlines underlines Cuba as one of its most important destinations

After the initial rush of airlines applying to fly to Cuba a few have cut back or stopped flying to the island altogether. It was to be expected as six airlines with similar routes competing on the same market wasn’t viable, at least not for now, when the volume of U.S. visitors to the island wouldn’t fill up capacity just yet. Still, the market continues growing, even in the face of President Trump’s rolling back of some of Obama’s eased travel measures, U.S. travellers haven’t shied away from Cuba, and American Airline has seen firm proof.

During a recent press release held at Havana’s Melia Cohiba hotel, Martha Pantin, American Airline’s Manager of Corporate Communications revealed o Sputnik:

“Since we started (flying to Cuba) in September 2016 we have made some adjustment because the markets didn´t develop at first, but we´ve seen the Miami-Havana transit go from strength to strength and this is why we´ve applied to the Department of Transportation to add 17 weekly frequencies to our itinerary”

Pantin added how the world’s biggest airline company would continue to prioritise its Cuba market over the following years and this is why they continue to fly to five destinations in the largest of the Antilles. She proceeded to compare how American Airline’s routes to Cuba are at the same level (or even surpass) of some of their most important Caribbean destinations like Bahamas (with six routes) and the Dominican Republic (with four).

American Airlines’ success in Cuba has been greatly and mostly supported by the community of Cuban-Americans in Miami, many of whom maintain strong ties with their native island and with their relatives there.

The news of AA increasing its flight frequencies to Cuba come following the strange “sonic attacks” that reportedly took place in Havana under extremely bizarre circumstantes and which the United States government is using as an excuse to further distance itself from the island, pulling back diplomats from the newly reopened U.S. embassy in Havana and using scare tacticts to try and detract possible American visitors from getting to know the totally safe reality of this peaceful island.

Suzanne Carlson, Director of Cuba Carlson Maritime Travel, a company that arranges and promotes yacht trips from Miami to Cuba, was also present at the Havana press conference and added:

“Despite the U.S. State Department having issued a warning to travellers to think about possible visits to Cuba, this country remains a very diverse, rich and wonderful destination, extremely safe for any visitor”

On this note, Carlson said there were “limitless” professional possibilities when it came to tourism in Cuba from a U.S. market, not just because of the island’s natural beauty and appeal, but because of the culture and hospitality of its people.

“I think the media will eventually contribute to the education of the American public, with information they will show the tranquility and safety that can be breathed in Cuba, and the affluence of travellers will curve the trend upwards”

As of 9th November 2016 and in order to reverse some of Obama’s changes in legislation regarding Cuba, in place since 17th December 2014, Trump’s administration has introduced a new list of restrictions that limit consular and commercial relations between the two countries.

Namely, a list of “Restricted Cuban Entities” has been published by the State Department and new regulations have been added by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) from the Treasury Department. OFAC forbids direct financial transactions with the Cuban entities listed and limits travel to Cuba.

Travel to Cuba by American citizens is now only allowed under the category of “people-to-people” exchanges, and warnigns have been issued that from now on travel to the island can only be arranged through a licensed tour operator and visitors need to eb accompanied by a representative from one of such institutions. Gone are Obama’s days of easily arranging travel to Cuba independently, where all you had to do was tick a bos in a list of allowed categories for purposes of travel. You were free to book your flights and accommodation on your own (without any need for any third party intervention) and could easily obtain a travel visa from the gate at the airport.

Nowadays, ordinary American citizens can still travel to Cuba but will now have to do so as part of preoganised tours or groups (unless you’re a Cuban-American or have family in the island). In addition, a Cuba Travel Advisory warning has been put in place by Travel.State.Gov’s website from the U.S. Department of State, in which Cuba is unfairly categorised in Level 3, advising possible visitors to reconsider travel due to the dubious (and so far unproven) “health attacks directed at U.S. Embassy Havana employees”. It does gets old already, doesn’t it? These are, in true Donald Trump classic style, scaremongering tactics that shouldn’t deter savvy U.S. travellers from discovering Cuba’s complex beauty.


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