September 28, 2021

Alaska and Delta airlines approved to commence service to Havana

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Lining up for Runway 6L

Lining up for Runway 6L

From Caribbean News Now

WASHINGTON, USA — On Wednesday, Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines were both approved by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) to operate scheduled services to Havana, Cuba.

In Delta’s case this will represent a resumption of scheduled service to Cuba for the first time in almost 55 years. Flights will be available for sale beginning September 10, 2016. All routes are subject to Cuban regulatory approval.

“Today, we celebrate our long-awaited and historic return to Cuba, and we reaffirm our thanks to Secretary Foxx and his team as well as the US State Department for granting us the authority to operate this service,” said Nicolas Ferri, Delta’s vice president — Latin America and the Caribbean. “This December, we look forward to serving customers with the excellent customer service and operational performance they expect from Delta while reuniting families and supporting a new generation of travelers seeking to engage and explore this unique destination.”

Delta flights between New York-JFK and Havana will connect the New York City area, home to the second largest Cuban-American population, to Cuba’s political, cultural and economic capital.

Atlanta service will provide more than 150 US cities with one-stop access to Cuba from the world’s largest hub, with more seats, destinations and flights than any other carrier.

Delta’s Miami-Havana flights will serve the largest population of Cuban-Americans in the US. Delta is the second-largest carrier at Miami International Airport by number of daily flights.

Delta Vacations, Delta’s official vacation provider, will offer Cuba travel packages later this year for customers who prefer to bundle their Cuba experience.

Delta’s History in Cuba

Delta inherited passenger service to Havana, Cuba, from its merger with Chicago and Southern Air Lines (C&S) on May 1, 1953, offering nonstop flights from New Orleans. Delta suspended service on December 1, 1961.

From 2002-2004 Delta operated charters between New York-JFK and Havana. In October 2011, Delta began operating up to a dozen charter flights to Havana per week with daily service from Miami and weekly service from Atlanta and New York-JFK. It operated almost 500 trips before suspending service on December 29, 2012. Most recently, Delta operated three ad hoc charter flights in 2015, including one that carried the Minnesota Orchestra back to Cuba for its first performance on the island in more than 85 years.

Alaska Airlines will start new Costa Rica flights Oct. 31. (PRNewsFoto/Alaska Airlines)

Alaska Airlines will start new Costa Rica flights Oct. 31. (PRNewsFoto/Alaska Airlines)

Meanwhile, Alaska Airlines has been awarded the right to operate commercial service between Los Angeles and Havana. The DOT officially approved Alaska’s application to begin service to the Cuban capital, which still must be approved by the Cuban government before tickets can go on sale.

“We applaud Secretary Anthony Foxx and the team at DOT for their thoughtful and impartial approach toward opening US commercial service to Cuba,” said John Kirby, Alaska’s vice president of capacity planning. “As the only carrier to be awarded daily nonstop service from the West Coast to Havana, we’re excited to be one of the first airlines to serve Cuba on a scheduled basis in more than 50 years.”

Once Alaska receives official approval from the Cuban government, the airline will determine when to begin service.

The Alaska Airlines flight will originate in Seattle with same plane service to Los Angeles and then Havana.

Traveling to Cuba involves advance planning. The US government doesn’t allow Americans to visit Cuba strictly for tourism – US citizens are permitted to travel to Cuba if they fall under 12 approved categories, such as family visits, education, journalism and humanitarian projects.




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