Are US-Cuba flights in jeopardy?

Charly Morales Valido, on: Travel
Are US-Cuba flights in jeopardy?

The very day that a flight from US company American Airlines landed at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, sources close to elect president Donald Trump said the real state mogul will reverse President Barack Obama’s ouvertures unless the Cuban government agrees to additional reforms.

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Will he do it? Crazy as it may sound, it’s truly a possibility…

Carriers from USA are crossing fingers and praying to avoid what may be just a bluff from Trump. The point is that you never know with him. He has said many things, and broke so many promises that no one knows what to expect. Only time will tell…

So far, the plane from AA came from Miami, with 157 passengers, to start regular flights from the United States to Havana. Jet Blue became the first US airline that traveled to Cuba, with a historic flight that landed in Santa Clara, in late August. American Airlines operates more than 345 flights every day from Miami to 129 destinations in 44 countries and territories.

But also today, JetBlue’s first commercial flight from New York to Cuba took off from JFK Airport. It’s funny, since Trump is a proud newyorker…

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In June, 2016, the Treasury of the United States authorized six airlines in that country to begin to offer flights to Cuba, after prohibition of that service for more than 50 years, but US travelers can only come to this country in 12 specific categories approved by Washington, not freely as tourists.

Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines will begin service from Fort Lauderdale on Thursday, and Delta Air Lines will also launch service from JFK, Miami and Atlanta on Thursday. Southwest will begin offering service from Fort Lauderdale to Havana on Dec. 12.

But there may be turbulence on the way. Trump just tweeted that he will reverse the deal if Cuba does not make changes.

Washington and Havana reached a memorandum of understanding that allowed U.S. airlines to start scheduled flights to Cuba after a half-century hiatus, and the Obama administration has eased travel restrictions for U.S. citizens - though general tourism remains illegal.

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It’s hard to tell if Trump would target the aviation deal, but airlines do not want to speculate. But erasing the flights would throw a wrench in the plans of U.S. airlines, which expect an eventual payout from Cuban-Americans visiting relatives, leisure travelers desiring an experience that was once off limits, and executives buying business class fares to evaluate commercial opportunities in Cuba.

U.S. carriers have already been flying to lower-demand destinations in the island's provinces for months so they could establish a foothold there. Hopefully, the hot-headed Trump won’t ruin everything… In the end, he is more a money-maker than a politician.

 



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