14ymedio, Havana, February 11, 2024 — A group of Russian visitors were victims of the poor service provided by the Cuban tourism industry and decided to protest at Cayo Coco airport after an 18-hour delay in the fuel supply to the aircraft that was leaving for Moscow.
According to the Russian portal Bel, the flight was delayed due to a breakdown of the tanker truck that was transporting the fuel to the airport, while the tourism site Tourdom reported that the company in charge of the connection, Nordwind Airlines, stated that the reason for the delay was because “there was not enough fuel” in the Island terminal “to refuel the aircraft.”
The lack of fuel was known while the plane was preparing for takeoff, and the passengers were temporarily accommodated in a hotel
The lack of fuel was known while the plane was preparing for takeoff, and the passengers were temporarily accommodated in a hotel. A video of the protest was posted on Russian media. The tourists, angry and complaining, were not informed of what happened. One man stated that “they didn’t give us water for a long time. At three in the morning we checked into the hotel, and at seven they told us to get back on the bus.” They finally arrived at the airport for their flight to the Moscow-Sheremetievo International Airport.
Nordwind had planned to fly from Cayo Coco (Jardines del Rey International Airport) to Moscow on February 8 at six in the evening, but it left a day later and arrived in the Russian capital this Saturday.
Currently, Nordwind is the only airline that operates direct flights between Moscow and Cayo Coco.
The terrible services offered by the Island in the tourism sector are not exclusive to airports. On January 3, 14ymedio published the story of Maidelys, a Cuban woman who suffered a tortuous trip on a Viazul bus between Ciego de Ávila and Havana.
Three hours stranded on the highway due to the breakdown of the vehicle made several passengers, including foreigners and Cubans living abroad, miss their return flights.
After the reopening of borders that were closed due to COVID-19, the official Cuban press began to sell the Jardines del Rey as a safe destination despite the epidemiological complexities. The airport of the same name began to receive up to 35 flights per week.
On December 24 of last year, the Russian state airline Rossiya, a subsidiary of Aeroflot, resumed its direct flights between Moscow and Havana
In 2021, during the coronavirus crisis, Russia positioned itself as the first country to send tourists to Cuba. However, in September 2023, it was in third position with 120,065 tourists, behind Canada (709,555) and the United States (126,600).
On December 24 of last year, the Russian state airline Rossiya, a subsidiary of Aeroflot, resumed its direct flights between Moscow and Havana. This link between the two capitals had been suspended since March 2022, as a result of the sanctions imposed by the European Union on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. As a consequence, flights from Moscow had to travel over the North Pole to reach Cuba.
According to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Chernishenko, between January and October 2023, tourism to Havana increased by 3.5 times, and by last November 164,197 Russian tourists had arrived on the Island.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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