As 2015 drew to a close, certain newsworthy events gave a fresh impulse to Cuba’s global flight connections and it’s tourism industry, currently working to attract even more visitors and to improve the quality and comfort of services offered, of which flight connections play an important role.
Amongst the good news was the reopening of commercial flights between Cuba and the U.S., suspended for decades, which now allows scheduled air services to compliment the charter services that, until now, had been the only direct flights between the two countries.
However, the economic, commercial and financial blockade prohibits tourism travel to Cuba.
In spite of this, arrivals from the U.S. rose by almost 75% in 2015 in comparison with the previous year, with 147,000 visitors attracted by the islands charms and the easing of restrictions on travel to Cuba, approved by president Barack Obama early last year.
Numerous U.S. airlines such as American Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines and JetBlue Airways had expressed interest in launching direct routes when the agreement comes into effect, which, according to State Department calculations, will mean 110 new flights to Cuba, 20 per day to Havana and 10 to other airports on the island.
The other news was the launch of an Air China airlines Beijing-Havana flight with a stopover in the Canadian city of Montreal, the first such connection between the Asian giant and the Caribbean.
It is worth noting that China is the largest source of tourism in the world, to Latin America and the Caribbean, areas not very well known to Chinese travelers.
No less significant was the re-launch of operations in the middle of last year by Iberia, a company that has since increased capacity to travel to Cuba by almost 30%, increasing the number of flights from 5 to 6 last December and a daily flight to commence on June 2 this year.
Iberia’s Havana flight facilitates connections to more than 100 destinations in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, from where it will commence flights to Tokyo and Shanghai which, according to the company, will favor an increased flow of tourists and be good for business on both sides of the Atlantic.
54 foreign airlines currently flying into 10 international airports currently connect Cuba to more than 60 cities worldwide, which is why many companies are increasing flight frequency and others are selecting it as a destination.
Amongst those with offers are Aerolíneas Argentinas, Blue Panorama, Air Berlin, Condor, Eurowind and Neos de Italia, the latter of which has named flights after Cuban cities, and chartered flights from Canada and Venezuela.
Further announcements indicate that Chinese and German airlines are planning new flights for the island’s winter tourism season (November 2015-April 2016).
Copa Airlines are also on the scene, directly connecting Cuba through the Hub of the Americas in Panama City, to 72 destinations in 29 countries in the region with Air France, Aerocaribbean, Aeroflot, Aerovaradero, Air Canada, Air Caraibes, Air Europa, Aeromexico, Interjet, Bahamasair, Cayman Airways, Comercial take off S.A, Conviasa, Elca S.A., Iberia, Lan Chile, Martinair, Taag, Taca, Tame and Virgin Atlantic.
Faced with this challenge, Cuban civil aviation and tourism authorities ensure a progressive upgrade of the existing technology through the acquisition of new aircrafts and the remodeling of various terminals to enhance their quality.
This is to improve facilities for passenger access as well as equating the price of aviation fuel to the competing prices and since May 1, 2015, the direct payment of airport tax has been removed and is now being added to ticket prices.
Such measures predict increased flight connections and more tourists for 2016.Share on FB Share on TT