September 26, 2020

Airlines overestimated how many Americans would fly to Cuba. Now they’re making changes


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By Kate Samuelson From Fortune

Less than four months after launching its first ever service to Cuba, Frontier Airlines has announced plans to drop its Miami to Havana flight due to lower-than-expected demand and high operating costs.

Frontier’s move follows Silver Airways, a Fort Lauderdale-based regional carrier that was the first airline to sell tickets for regularly scheduled flights to Cuba, scrapping its service to the country. American Airlines and JetBlue have also announced plans to reduce their service to the Caribbean island.

“Other airlines continue to serve this market with too many flights and oversized aircraft, which has led to an increase in capacity of approximately 300% between the U.S. and Cuba,” a Silver Airways spokesperson said in a statement. “In addition to overcapacity, distribution through online travel agencies and codeshare agreements have been unavailable since airlines began servicing Cuba last fall. Now, six months later, this issue is still not fully resolved, resulting in depressed demand.”

Fewer Americans are traveling to Cuba than originally anticipated, according to The New York Times, But airline carrier’s decision to cut back on their Cuba services has more to do with airlines rushing into a new market with an abundance of seats than with there being a lack of passengers.

“We started pretty big in Cuba,” Laura Masvidal, a spokeswoman for American Airlines, told the Times. “We made some adjustments to adjust to the market demand.”In August 2016, JetBlue became the first U.S. passenger airline to complete a commercial flight to Cuba in 50 years, just months after a historic agreement was made by the two countries to resume scheduled air service.

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