Sky Talk

American Airlines applies for DFW-Havana route

American Airlines has applied to operate daily service between Dallas/Fort Worth Airport and Havana, Cuba.

The Fort Worth-based carrier also proposes operating 10 daily flights between Miami and Havana and one daily flight between Charlotte and Havana. American first launched charter flights between the U.S. and Cuba in April 1991.

“Our long record of providing reliable charter service to Cuba has given American a wealth of experience and familiarity with ground operations in Cuba and close relations with the Cuban aviation authorities,” American CEO Doug Parker said in the application. “With this deep experience and our current extensive charter operations, American is ready on day one to offer the benefits of a full schedule of reliable frequencies to Cuba.”

Last month, U.S. and Cuban government officials signed an agreement that allows for 20 daily flights between the U.S. and Havana and an additional 10 daily flights between the U.S. at each of the nine other Cuban airports, for a total of up to 110 daily flights.

Carriers had until Wednesday evening to submit applications to the U.S. Department of Transportation, with responses due March 14 and additional comments due by March 21.

American’s application includes requests to fly once-a-week service between Los Angeles and Havana and once-a-week service between Chicago O’Hare and Havana. The carrier also has proposed two daily flights between Miami and Santa Clara, Holguin and Varadero and one daily flight between Miami and Camaguey and Cienfuegos.

“Our proposal to offer round-trip flights to Cuba from our hubs in Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, and Chicago O’Hare will also ensure connectivity and travel options for all U.S. businesses and communities, including other Cuban-American population centers, likely to pursue commercial and cultural ties to Cuba in the years ahead,” Parker said.

In 2015, American operated 1,084 charter flights from the U.S. to Cuba that carried 222,228 passengers, the most of any U.S. airline. JetBlue Airways and Delta Air Lines also operated charters, 221 flights and 4 flights last year respectively.

None of American’s charter flights last year operated from DFW Airport. If the DOT awards American a daily flight from DFW to Havana, it will be the first regularly scheduled service to Cuba from the airport.

“Service to Cuba from DFW will complement American’s proposed [Miami] and [Charlotte] services,” American’s chief marketing officer Andrew Nocella said in his testimony, noting that Miami and Charlotte will offer connecting service primarily to the north and near west of the two hubs. “DFW, on the other hand, will serve as the primary gateway to Havana from the Western U.S., the Southwestern U.S., the Central and Midwest U.S. and the Pacific Northwest.”

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk

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