American Airlines announced that they would be launching the first charter flights between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Jose Marti International Airport (HAV) in Havana later this year with an intended start date of December 12, 2015, which will be operated on one of their Boeing 737 aircraft.
Below is the announcement: “American is the premier carrier in Los Angeles and throughout the Caribbean, and this new charter flight shows how we continue to expand our reach by offering new routes and services our customers want,” said Art Torno, American’s senior vice president – International and Cargo. “We stand ready to offer scheduled service as soon as the United States and Cuba allow commercial flights.”
“We are excited to expand our partnership with American to include flights from Los Angeles to Havana,” said Michael Zuccato, General Manager at Cuba Travel Services. “We will continue to deliver a high quality travel experience and opening up new West Coast access to Cuba will bring a convenient, affordable option to authorized travelers.”
American’s new charter service between Los Angeles and Havana will be sold by Cuba Travel Services and will operate on Saturdays beginning Dec.12 with Boeing 737 aircraft. In addition, American will operate a Saturday flight between Miami International Airport and Havana, also sold by Cuba Travel Services.
American has operated charter flights to Cuba since 1991. With these additions, American will offer 22 weekly flights from Miami, Tampa and Los Angeles to five destinations in the country: Camaguey, Cienfuegos, Havana, Holguin and Santa Clara. This year, American will operate approximately 1,200 charter flights to Cuba, more than any other airline. American also is the leading carrier to the Caribbean with up to 150 daily flights to more than 30 destinations.
With the addition of Havana, American will have launched nine international flights from its LAX hub this year. Additions include a second daily flight to London’s Heathrow Airport; Vancouver, Canada; Belize City, Belize; Guadalajara, Mexico City and Mazatlan, Mexico; Sydney (pending regulatory approvals) and Tokyo-Haneda (pending Japanese government approval).
This is quite an exciting time, and I’m glad to see an option from the West Coast down to Havana. As a reminder, Americans still are not allowed to travel to Cuba for general tourism under the terms of the U.S. embargo, which remains in place, however restrictions have been lifted making travel to Cuba easier than in the past.