Eight U.S. airlines will be able to begin flying to Cuba’s capital city later this year.
The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded twenty daily routes to Havana on Thursday, giving Fort Worth-based American Airlines the most with five daily flights.
“Restoring regular air service holds tremendous potential to reunite Cuban American families and foster education and opportunities for American businesses of all sizes,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a statement.
American will be allowed to operate four daily flights from Miami and one daily flight from Charlotte and expects to begin service in November. Although the carrier had asked for a route between Dallas/Fort Worth Airport and Havana, that request was denied.
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The airline’s five daily flights to Havana are in addition to previously approved daily flights from its hub in Miami to Santa Clara, Holguin, Matanzas, Camaguey and Cienfuegos. American will begin service on those routes in September.
“American has a rich history in the Cuban market and we are excited to continue to be the leader in providinng air service between the United States and Cuba,” said American’s chief marketing officer Andrew Nocella. The carrier said it willl use a Boeing 737-800 aircraft on its flights from Miami to Havana and an Airbus A319 on its flight from Charlotte to Havana.
Dallas-based Southwest Airlines received approval to operate two daily flights from Fort Lauderdale and one daily flight from Tampa.
“Our countdown to Cuba continues with enthusiasm and we’re finalizing plans to bring our world famous value and customer service to these emerging U.S. travel markets,” said Southwest chief executive Gary Kelly.
In addition to its three Havana daily flights, Southwest was previously awarded two daily flights between Fort Lauderdale and Varadero and one daily flight from Fort Lauderdale to Santa Clara.
The DOT also awarded daily flights to Havana to Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Spirit Airlines and United Airlines. United received approval for the only flight to Havana from Texas, a once-a-week flight from Houston.
In February, U.S. and Cuban government officials signed an agreement, allowing for 20 daily flights between the U.S. and Havana and 10 daily flights between the U.S. and nine other Cuban airports, for a total of up to 110 daily flights. So far, the DOT has approved 47 daily flights to Cuba, requested by U.S. airlines.
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 four flights last year respectively.
Four times daily
Delta Air Lines
New York (JFK)-Havana
Twice daily (except once on Saturdays)
New York (JFK)-Havana
Once weekly (Saturdays)
Source: U.S. Department of Transportation