USDOT Doles Out More Havana Flights to Five U.S. Airlines
The U.S. Department of Transportation has tentatively awarded U.S-Havana route allocations to American, Delta, Southwest, JetBlue and United.
The routes, which add up to the equivalent of five daily, will replace Havana service that has been dropped by Spirit, Alaska, Frontier and Delta due to lack of demand.
Should DOT finalize the awards, U.S. airlines will once again offer 20 daily frequencies to Havana, which is the maximum allowed under the aviation agreement between the U.S. and Cuba.
Under the tentative approvals, American would offer an additional daily flight between Miami and Havana, adding to the four dailies it already flies. Delta would offer a second daily Miami-Havana flight. That second flight would effectively replace the New York-Havana service Delta terminated on Feb. 1.
JetBlue would be awarded six-times-weekly service from Fort Lauderdale to the Cuban capital, adding to the 12 weekly frequencies it already offers on that route. JetBlue would also receive one weekly allocation for Havana-Boston service.
Southwest would be awarded a third daily route between Fort Lauderdale and Havana. Finally, United would get six more frequencies per week to Havana from Houston Bush, allowing it to turn a weekly route into a daily one.
In making the awards, the DOT said it sought to promote competition while selecting carriers that could effectively maintain Havana service.
Fed Ex is the only applicant for an available Havana route that the department outright rejected, but its Monday-to-Friday Miami-Havana service would have been cargo-only.
In addition, the DOT looked askance at American's application for another 10 weekly Miami-Havana frequencies and at JetBlue's request for daily Tampa, Newark and Kennedy frequencies.
Notably, the airlines' continued pursuit of Havana service comes despite stricter restrictions on travel to Cuba imposed by the Trump administration last year.
The new service will have an even heavier focus on South Florida than before. Along with the suspended Delta service out of Kennedy, Alaska was previously flying to the Cuban capital from Los Angeles.
Parties have until April 16 to object to the tentative DOT decisions.
Source: Travel Weekly