14ymedio, Havana, 14 October 2016 — Executives of the Spanish airline Air Nostrum have offered Cuban authorities the use of their aircraft to travel from Cuba to the United States and the Caribbean, in an attempt to evade the mechanisms of the US embargo, by which the assets of the Cuban State could be seized in the United States to compensate the victims of expropriations at the beginning of the 1959 Revolution.
Carlos Bertomeu, President of Air Nostrum, explained that his initiative has the backing of the Iberia company, for which Latin America is a highly strategic market. Bertomeu spoke from Havana, where a Spanish business mission organized by the Council of Chambers of Commerce of Valencia and the Valencian Community and Generalitat is exploring business options in Cuba.
The opening of flights between Cuba and the United States have so far operated in only one direction for fear of confiscation of the property of the Cuban State, which could be seized to satisfy the claims American citizens whose properties in Cuba were expropriated by the state in the sixties.
With the proposal of Air Nostrum, the Valencian company would provide the flights, while Cuban Aviation would run the marketing. Bertomeu has experience in this type of business with other companies such as Iberia and Scandinavian Airlines.
“The market between Cuba and the United States is already real. The potential is enormous,” the President of Air Nostrum said, referring to a possible lifting of the US embargo on the island.
“We have an excellent fleet of short and medium haul planes. And we are convinced that there is enough demand in any corridor,” he said.
The information contrasts however with the actual numbers of air traffic between the two countries. According to a report published by the Miami newspaper, El Nuevo Herald, of 30 daily flights from American Airlines in the first five days of this week, “only two filled half their capacity and some only had 12 or 13 passengers.”
The Valencia Community has the fourth highest level of trade with Cuba of any Spanish region. Last year bilateral trade reached 100 million dollars.