December 18, 2014
Restoration of political ties between US and Cuba may offer new opportunities for airlines
The news that Barack Obama has decided to restore political ties between the US and Cuba could prove good news for the airline industry. Though clearly it is early days, a number of airlines who currently operate charter flights to the Caribbean island have already identified the potential for increased business. Anthony Black, who is the spokesman for Delta Air Lines, which operates a number of charter flights to Cuba, made it very clear his company looked forward to growing its service to the island as and when more opportunities arose. American Airlines, which weekly has about 20 charter flights to Cuba, indicated it would continue to follow the laws and policies of the US government, but would not comment on whether an increase in the number of flights was on the cards.
The Chief Executive of the Aerospace Industries Association, Marion Blakey, welcomed the president’s announcement, saying it could well create “a great deal of new commerce” for American companies. However this news is also timely for Cuban airlines too as it was only back in October that Cubana de Aviación, Cuba’s national carrier, announced they intended to launch a new route from Costa Rica, and add a second flight from Cancun. Airlines in Mexico, Poland, Russia, Germany and Colombia will either be opening new routes or adding flights to Cuba, said Dalila Gonzalez at the same time, an official at Cuba’s Tourism Ministry. Canada, who is Cuba’s biggest source of tourists, has also announced they will be operating more flights to Cuba and Thomas Cook Airlines announced in November that it will operate a brand new flight to Varadero in Cuba from Belfast in January 2016.