United Airlines Expects to Resume Flights to Cuba by the End of the Year

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, United Airlines had seven weekly flights to Havana from its hubs in Houston and Newark. (CC)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 22 September 2022 — The U.S. company United Airlines announced on Wednesday that it is working to resume its commercial flights to Cuba by the end of 2022, two and a half years after suspending them due to the pandemic.

The airline, based in Chicago, told Reuters news agency that it has been working on the reactivation of its flights to Havana for several months but is facing contract setbacks. It has requested from the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) an extension of 30 days to finish the deadline process, set by the US regulator for October 31.

“United needs to do significant work, including the renegotiation of multiple contracts with service providers that have expired and the construction of the necessary infrastructure in Terminal 3 of the Havana airport, where United is being relocated,” it said.

Before shutting down its operations in March 2020, when countries closed their airspace due to coronavirus restrictions, United had seven weekly flights to Havana from its hubs in Houston and Newark.

The airline resumed negotiations to return to Cuba after June, when the USDOT lifted the restrictions imposed by former President Donald Trump on commercial flights of American companies to small airports in Cuba outside Havana.

The USDOT agreed on Monday to expand U.S. flights by granting one to JetBlue and 13 to American Airlines, although the latter requested authorization to operate two more daily flights, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, on the route between Miami and Havana, which would have meant an increase of 14 weekly flights.

In this way, American Airlines will add 13 additional routes in December to the seven that are already flying from Miami to the Cuban capital, while JetBlue, a low-cost airline, will have four from Fort Lauderdale.

Even before the Biden Administration lifted the air restrictions, American Airlines requested permission to extend its operations to the Island and, in July, obtained authorization to fly, beginning in November, to Santa Clara, Holguín, Varadero and Santiago de Cuba.

The airline has indicated that the flights would improve “service and access between the United States and these points outside Havana, after more than two years during which such operations were suspended.”

Translated by Regina Anavy 


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