American Airlines and JetBlue battle it out to be granted new licences for Cuba flights

Posted: 15-Jan-19 11:35

Building up to what it could become a fierce and bloody battle between the two American giants, American Airlines is charging against JetBlue in order to be granted more licenses for Cuba flights. After the submitting of applications to the DOT by both airlines (American requested permission for the Miami-Havana route while JetBlue asked for the Fort-Lauderdale-Havana route), American Airlines claims that JetBlue’s FLL-HAV service has flown with an “overabundance” of empty seats in the past.

American Airlines and JetBlue battle it out to be granted new licences for Cuba flights

After what seemed like a hiatus in the battle to secure licences for Cuba flights, the interest in covering routes abandoned by other U.S. airline is peaking once again as two giant American carriers ensue in a verbal fight to persuade the DOT to grant them licences over the other competitor.

The quarrelling airlines are JetBlue and American Airlines, with the latter now charging against JetBlue with the argument that JetBlue operates flights to Cuba with “an overabundance of empty seats”, in reference to JetBlue´s submitted application on 20th December to add another Fort Lauderdale-Havana route, a route it already serves with three daily flights from Sundays to Fridays and one further flight to Havana on Saturdays.

The motivation behind JetBlue’s recent application for an increased frequency of their Fort Lauderdale-Havana route is Southwest Airlines’ abandonment of their FLL-HAV bid after the company said it had changed its mind and will instead shift focus to getting their planned Hawaii service off the ground.

Now American Airlines says JetBlue shouldn’t be granted any additional frequencies for their FLL-HAV route claiming that JetBlue’s FLL-HAV service has experienced low passenger volume in comparison to American Airline’s strong demand for the MIA-HAV route. According to the documents submitted by American Airlines, their Miami-Havana route was filled to 83 per cent of its capacity while JetBlue’s Fort Lauderdale-Havana route had a load factor of just 52 per cent.

In American Airlines’ words:

“JetBlue’s 52 percent FLL-HAV load factor in November 2018 would be bad enough on its own, but even worse, it came after JetBlue downgauged its FLL-HAV service for a second time,”

The “downgauging” American refers to comes after JetBlue changed to a smaller type of aircraft to service its FLL-HAV routes, going from an A320 to an E190.

Continuing their charge against JetBlue, American Airlines’ filed application reads:

“Demand for American’s MIA-HAV service has always been strong, while JetBlue’s FLL-HAV service has suffered from a scarcity of passengers and an overabundance of empty seats.”

But it was JetBlue who started the feud by first stating in its application to the DOT:

“There is no public interest rationale for awarding American additional frequencies while such competitive lopsidedness exists,”

The lop-sidedness that JetBlue alleges come from the comparison of JetBlue’s three daily flights to Havana to American Airlines’ five daily flights from Miami to Havana.

American Airline´s ordeal begun months ago when American Airlines publicly admitted that its route from Charlotte to Havana wasn’t doing as well as it had hoped and instead wanted to shift this route in favour of new frequencies for their MIA-HAV route where demand was strong.

However, according to the rules laid out by the DOT, airlines can’t simply shift U.S. airports based on customer demand, even after American Airlines fought this rule in hope of getting it changed. Its attempt failed and both JetBlue and Southwest Airlines fought against American’s proposal.

As things are at the minute, the fight between both U.S. airlines in their bid to cover more Cuba flights could intensify in the coming months. Whichever the DOT’s decision on who it grants licences to, the feud isn’t likely to go away any time soon. We’ll keep you posted whatever happens.


Popular Holidays in cuba

OUR EXCLUSIVE DEALS AND LATEST OFFERS

Best Value

From £599 per person
villa pinares de mayari

Villa Pinares De Mayari

4.0 stars

Beautifully perched on the panoramic Mensura Hill, surrounded by striking greenery, this blessed and secluded natural...

Included
  • Flight
  • Accomodation
  • Transportation
  • Representation
From £629 per person
villa mirador de mayabe

Villa Mirador De Mayabe

2.0 stars

This enchanting villa hotel is surrounded by exuberant tropical plants and is perfectly located in a high point towering...

Included
  • Flight
  • Accomodation
  • Transportation
  • Representation
From £679 per person
sercotel club cayo guillermo

Sercotel Club Cayo Guillermo

3.0 stars

The perfect haven for lovers of nature in its purest state, the Villa Cojimar hotel sits in an idyllic location amidst...

Included
  • Flight
  • Accomodation
  • Transportation
  • Representation
From £679 per person
tryp cayo coco

Tryp Cayo Coco

4.0 stars

The perfect beach holiday awaits you the all-inclusive Tryp Cayo Coco hotel, where non-stop entertainment and utmost...

Included
  • Flight
  • Accomodation
  • Transportation
  • Representation
From £689 per person
club amigo atlantico guardalavaca

Club Amigo Atlantico Guardalavaca

3.0 stars

Get away to one of Cuba's best kept secrets for a dream holiday at Club Amigo Atlantico. Guardalavaca is known to host...

Included
  • Flight
  • Accomodation
  • Transportation
  • Representation
From £699 per person
memories holguin

Memories Holguin

4.0 stars

Enjoy a perfect beach setting while you unwind in the historic sands of the all-inclusive Memories Holguin. A short...

Included
  • Flight
  • Accomodation
  • Transportation
  • Representation

More deals


Explore cuba your way

Tailor made cuba holidays

For those who prefer to travel at their own pace or to explore places not included in the brochure itineraries, we have years of experience at organising tailor-made holidays.

Create the perfect trip with the help of our specialists

Our expert tour consultants will be pleased to suggest ideas to complement your own and to organise the most appropiate programme to suit your interests, time and budget.

Call 0207 644 1600
to speak with our award-winning travel consultants.

If you would like a member of our team to contact you back, please click here Contact us