US Flights to Havana Approved & Already Started
The flights between the USA and Havana were announced back in June by the Department of Transportation, but it took a long time to hammer out and finalize which airlines got which routes. They were slower to be announced because so many airlines wanted US flights to Havana that it took a lot of negotiating to divide up the pie.
US flights to other cities in Cuba had already been announced. See my page on American Flights to Cuba Also see an earlier post on the Non-Havana Flights; flights to eight other cities in Cuba.
The plan is to let 8 US airlines out of 10 different airports serve Havana. These cities will have at least one weekly non-stop flight to the capital of Cuba. This will amount to 14 daily flights after all routes start up. In fact, some of these flights have already started and most should be in effect by year end 2016.
Regular airline service between the USA and Cuba has been banned for nearly five decades, part of the broader U.S. embargo on Cuba. However, the nations agreed last year to allow up to 110 regularly scheduled airline flights each day as part of President Obama’s effort to normalize relations with Cuba.
The DOT already awarded flights to other Cuban cities, announcing approval in June for six U.S. airlines to fly from five U.S. destinations to nine Cuban cities other than Havana. The DOT held off on its decision for the Havana routes because interest from U.S. airlines far exceeded the 20 daily flights initially being allowed to the Cuban capital.
“Today we take another important step toward delivering on President Obama’s promise to reengage Cuba,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement revealing the routes. “Restoring regular air service holds tremendous potential to reunite Cuban American families and foster education and opportunities for American businesses of all sizes.”
American Airlines received the highest overall number of daily flights to Havana, tentatively winning the right to four from its hub in Miami and one from its hub in Charlotte.
JetBlue and Delta won fewer overall daily flights but will end up flying to Havana from more U.S. cities.
JetBlue was tentatively awarded four overall daily flights from three destinations. From its focus city in Fort Lauderdale, JetBlue will be permitted to operate two daily round-trip flights (except for Saturday, when it will be limited to one). The carrier also will be able to operate one daily round-trip flight from its main hub at New York JFK and from its focus city in Orlando.