14ymedio, Havana, 2 November 2021 — Cuba will receive more than 400 flights a week as of November 15, of which 77 will arrive in Havana from the United States, Transport Minister Eduardo Rodríguez Dávila said at a press conference. The official affirmed that there are airlines that have not confirmed all the frequencies they have been granted, so the number of flights could be greater when the country opens its borders.
Regarding the connections between the US and the island, which currently only have four weekly flights scheduled, he specified that the almost 80 flights have not yet been confirmed by all US airlines and that the country plans to receive a total of 147.
In the case of arrivals to other Cuban provinces, it will depend on what the US Government has available, taking into account the current sanctions that prevent flights serving cities outside the capital. “All frequencies are approved,” said the official, insisting that Cuba’s efforts to expand connections “have been made.”
Currently the country is only receiving 63 weekly flights and, in anticipation of the increase, according to Rodríguez, the Government has carried out “intense rehabilitation work in the main terminals of the José Martí airport.” Among the renovations, he mentioned the expansion of the Customs hall in Terminal 3 and the exchange houses.
Responding to a question about the traffic jam that could occur in the air terminals due to delays in some services such as the charging of magnetic cards, something that has been happening frequently in recent months in the country, Rodríguez affirmed that “the problem is known and is actively being worked on… In the next few days it will have a definitive solution.”
Regarding domestic flights, he explained that Cubana de Aviación “has tried to hire aircraft to perform these services” without much progress due to US laws that sanction this type of lease. However, the airline, he assured, “will increase national transportation with its own aircraft” although “it will not be at the level we would like.”
Cuba suspended commercial and charter flights in April 2020 to stop the expansion of the coronavirus and in October of that year it reopened the airports, but with a minimum of flights from the United States, Mexico, Panama, Bahamas, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Colombia, after an unstoppable increase in covid-19 infections with the reestablishment of some air connections.
As of November 7, incoming travelers will not have to undergo a mandatory quarantine or present a negative PCR test, even though they will have to show an international certificate of vaccination against COVID-19, authorities said. In the case of those who are not vaccinated, they must present a negative PCR-RT certificate for the coronavirus, carried out in a certified laboratory within 72 hours prior to the trip.
On the other hand, this Monday the Frank País García International Airport in Holguín received the first cargo flight from the United States with 3.4 tons of packages for Aerovaradero customers, the air terminal reported on its Facebook page. The IBC Airways company, in charge of the operation, plans another flight to the province this month.
Last July IBC Airways and with Skyway Enterprises were authorized by the US Department of Transportation to fly non-commercial flights to Cuba. The permit, which will be in effect until November 30, includes charter flights “for emergency medical purposes, search and rescue, and other trips deemed to be of interest to the United States.”
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.