14ymedio, Havana, 28 April 2022 — Cubana de Aviación last of its remaining three Embraer 110s disabled this Wednesday, after its landing gear collapsed at the José Martí International Airport while it was being towed by ground personnel at Terminal 1.
The news was confirmed by the Facebook group Amantes de la aviación cubana, which also published several photos showing the operators surrounding the aircraft and its license plate: EMB-110 CU-T1551.
It is not the first time that this plane, a Brazilian-made Embraer, has had problems, according to a source from the airport who asks to remain anonymous. “It was broken for a long time, lying in the hangar. They fixed it because there was no plane for domestic flights, and on the same day they announced there was mow domestic flight service, they had to tow it to the hangar again,” explains this source. , referring to last March, when Cubana de Aviación assured that it would resume domestic service with the connection between Havana and Holguín, with two weekly flights.
The same aircraft had its landing gear fall apart in November 2020, when touching down in Havana from Nueva Gerona, in an accident that resulted in no victims among its twenty passengers.
Last October, and just days after an announcement of new routes by Cubana de Aviación, the Ministry of Transportation announced that the state airline would keep its domestic flights canceled due to the poor condition of the planes.
“The technical availability of the fleet is not a secret; it is known that it is affected and has been very limited in the acquisition of parts to keep our aircraft in flight, so this programming will not start until the conditions created with our aircraft are in place, to start providing domestic flights,” the general director of Transportation and Tickets, Luis Ladrón de Guevara, acknowledged then on national television.
Months later, in January of this year, the state airline was involved in a controversy, when it came to light that Spain had granted direct aid valued at 200,000 euros to the branch of Cubana de Aviación in Madrid.
In any case, the serious crisis of Cubana de Aviación goes back a long way and the coronavirus pandemic only helped to seal its fate.
Last summer, the company was embroiled in a problem, when the International Air Transport Association (IATA) informed travel agencies that the state-owned airline would no longer participate in Spain’s BSP payment compensation mechanism, so the issuance of tickets, electronic multipurpose documents (EMD) and refunds in the name of the company had to be stopped.
In August, the airline maintained some international flights to Madrid with an Ilyushin Il-96, but the rest of the international destinations and several routes to the Spanish capital were operated by other companies.
In 2019, after 17 years without a single purchase, Cubana signed a contract to acquire two ATR 72-600 turboprops from the French-Italian company that had sold it two ATR 42-500 and one ATR 72-200 years before, but the operation It was canceled months later due to the tightening of the embargo during the Donald Trump Administration, which prevents Cuba from acquiring equipment that has 10% or more of its components made in the United States.
That same year, the state company had several problems on its flights, including an emergency on one of its planes due to the loss of the navigation system.
In addition, in May 2018 there was a serious accident in which 112 people lost their lives on a domestic flight between Havana and Holguín and the only survivor was Mailén Díaz.
COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.