American Airlines links L.A. to Havana
The U.S. and Cuba have yet to agree on how and when to implement regularly scheduled airline services. The issue of flights between the two countries is high on the agenda as the diplomats work their way through issues that have separated the two nations for years. The reality is many American flagged airlines make daily flights to several Cuban cities and on any given day there will be a number of scheduled flights from U.S. airports in and out of Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport.
Monday of this week American Airlines announced it will being flying out of Los Angeles every Saturday beginning in December.With the American flag flying over the U.S. embassy in Havana U.S. carriers are eager to initiate service and tap into what is believed to be a huge demand by U.S. travelers to visit the Island Nation.
“The reopening of the United States and Cuban embassies in Havana and Washington is an important step toward building new commercial relationships and re-establishing scheduled air service between the U.S. and Cuba said American Airlines Chairman Doug Parker. Travel agents and airline operators are optimistic that flights could open by the end of the year.
In reality American has been flying “scheduled” service into Cuba for years. 12 flights a week originate out of Miami International Airport. These flights are charter flights arranged by ABC Charters. An ABC Charters video explains the process of flying to Cuba. There is a regular schedule, flights are booked much like any routine flight, additional papers work for the Cuban government is the only difference from flying to say Jamaica.
A number of other travel agencies operate the “scheduled” charters to Cuba. They team up with Airlines like Jet Blue and charters operations like Miami Air.On a daily basis the tarmacs at Jose Marti are busy with U.S. carriers coming and going. They have the look and feel of scheduled airlines but are charters.This year American Airlines will send over a thousand flights to Cuba so the addition of the Los Angeles flight is organic. The passenger demand is there and for American it is yet another foot in the door. The American L.A. flight will be booked through Cuba Travel Services.
“American Airlines has operated charter flights for nearly 25 years and we stand ready to begin scheduled service when it is allowed,” says American’s Doug Parker.The Wall Street Journal reports that a possible agreement would allow airlines to establish service between the U.S. and Cuba as soon as this December.