The Cancellation of Iberojet Flights to Cuba Is Another Sign of the Tourism Debacle

Iberojet had already canceled its Madrid-Santiago de Cuba route in September. (CC)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 3 November 2023 — The Spanish company Iberojet will stop flying to Havana in 2024. As confirmed  to 14ymedio by an employee of the company, the airline will have no connection with the Island from next January 15 and does not know when it will resume operations. But it will open two routes to Santa Clara, the same source explained, from Madrid and Lisbon, but “beginning next summer.”

Although the company has not issued any official statement, several travel agencies reported the news on their social networks, saying that January 10 is the last scheduled flight from Barajas airport to Havana’s José Martí airport.

“Attention travelers! Iberojet cancels its operation to Cuba and the last flight will be on January 10. If you have a flight booked with us, we recommend you call to verify your ticket and find the best solution for your trip,” it warned on its Viajes On Time Facebook wall.

The airline already canceled its Madrid-Santiago de Cuba route last September, just a year after inaugurating it, but this measure will take place in the middle of the high season and evidences the debacle of foreign tourism on the Island.

According to the latest official figures published, only 147,380 international travelers visited Cuba in September. It was the worst data so far this year – even worse than in June, when the figure reached 154,590 – and the worst month of September recorded other than during the pandemic.

Until now, Iberojet has had a weekly flight from Madrid to Havana, on Wednesdays, at a very attractive price, less than 600 euros

Until now, Iberojet has had a weekly flight from Madrid to Havana, on Wednesdays, at a very attractive price, less than 600 euros per person. In addition, it allows passengers to carry two 50-pound suitcases and a 22-pound carry-on free of charge.

Also , the Spanish airline Iberia, which reduced its weekly flights between Madrid and the Island from four to three last September, will continue with that frequency both in the Caribbean high season — from November to May — and next summer.

Last week, the American company Southwest reported that, from June 2024, it will move most of its international destinations from the Fort Lauderdale airport to Orlando, Florida, and the Island will not be among them.

However, the company responded by email to this newspaper saying that it will continue to provide services to Cuba with a daily flight from Tampa International Airport. To get to Tampa, the company offers direct flights twice a day from Fort Lauderdale.

Two other U.S. airlines, Delta and United, announced that they were waiting for authorization from the U.S. Department of Transportation for a temporary exemption from their routes to Cuba. As has JetBlue, both have reduced their flights to the Island since October 29.

In the case of Delta, the company has requested a suspension, until March 30, 2024, of the seven routes it has between Atlanta – where it has its headquarters – and Havana, in addition to a reduction by half of its flights between Miami and Havana, from 14 to seven. The airline alleged that the route is “depressed,” although it hoped that demand could be recovered to resume service.

Translated by Regina Anavy

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