Service to Cuba is expected to resume this year, allowing U.S. carriers to operate a total of 20 daily round-trip flights between the U.S. and Havana, and 10 daily round-trip flights to nine other Cuban cities with international airports. The deadline for airlines to bid on these slots is today.
With that in mind, many airlines sent out press releases with more information about their applications for those coveted slots. A quick look at the opening paragraphs from the press releases from various airlines and their applications for service.
Delta: “Delta filed an application with the U.S. government to provide non-stop service to Cuba from four key cities in the United States. Delta seeks approval to serve Havana with daily flights from its hubs in Atlanta and New York’s JFK International Airport as well as from Miami and Orlando.
This is a historic moment for Delta as we seek to provide unparalleled access between the U.S. and Cuba,” said Bob Cortelyou, Senior Vice President —Network & Schedule Planning. “Delta’s proposed service to Havana from New York, Atlanta, Miami and Orlando will provide customers with convenient travel options to the Cuban capitol.”
Southwest: Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) filed an application today with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) requesting governmental approval to serve Cuba with daily nonstop flights from the carrier’s three busiest airports in Florida: Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL); Tampa Bay International Airport (TPA); and Orlando International Airport (MCO). The carrier applied to serve Havana (HAV) from all three Florida cities and additionally to serve Varadero (VRA) and Santa Clara (SNU) from Ft. Lauderdale (Miami Area). Upon approval, Southwest intends to initiate service to Cuba later this year. Click here to read Southwest Airlines’ application for service to Cuba.
As part of the effort to bring low-fare competition and Customer-friendly travel options to Cuba, the carrier is asking Customers to take action and support Southwest’s Countdown to Cuba by visiting Southwest.com/Cuba to sign a petition in support of Southwest’s proposed Cuba service.”
American: “American Airlines today submitted an application to the U.S. Department of Transportation proposing to operate scheduled service between the United States and Cuba, including 10 daily frequencies to Havana from American’s Latin America gateway hub in Miami and additional service to Havana from American’s hubs in Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles and Chicago. American’s proposal also includes daily service between Miami and five other Cuban cities.
American is the undisputed leader in serving the people and businesses of Miami-Dade County, which is the heart and soul of the Cuban-American community and home to nearly 50 percent of the Cuban-American population in the United States,” said American’s Chairman and CEO Doug Parker. “American’s proposed service – from Miami and four other hubs – will provide a strong foundation for the sustained future growth of commercial and cultural ties between the U.S. and Cuba. We commend President Obama, Secretary Foxx, Secretary Kerry, and the Departments of Transportation and State for their leadership in achieving the historic resumption of scheduled air service with Cuba.”
United: “CHICAGO, March 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — United Airlines today submitted its formal application to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for authority to provide service from four of its largest U.S. gateway cities – Newark/New York, Houston, Washington, D.C. and Chicago – to Havana’s José Martí International Airport. If approved, United will be one of the first U.S. airlines to offer customers daily, nonstop scheduled service to Cuba.
This is a historic moment for our company, our employees and, most importantly, our customers,” said Oscar Munoz, United’s president and chief executive officer. “We want to be the first choice for passengers traveling between the U.S. and Cuba. We’re able to offer customers the best access, convenience and connections to and from Havana through our industry-leading global route network, and we’re excited to compete for this important service.
United’s proposal to DOT outlines its planned service to Havana from hubs serving four of the country’s largest Cuban-American populations. The service would include a total of 11 roundtrip flights per week with daily service from Newark Liberty and one additional Saturday flight (eight weekly flights), along with a Saturday-only flight from Houston George Bush Intercontinental, Washington Dulles and Chicago O’Hare (three weekly flights). If United’s application is approved, service to Havana on these routes will be operated with United Wi-Fi-equipped Boeing 737-800 two-cabin aircraft featuring 16 United First, 90 United Economy and 48 extra legroom United Economy Plus seats.”
Alaska: “SEATTLE — Alaska Airlines today filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation seeking approval to fly two daily nonstop flights from its Latin America gateway of Los Angeles to Havana, Cuba. The Los Angeles metro area has the largest Cuban-American population in the Western United States.
Together with our 14 global partner airlines, Alaska Airlines offers more than 110 nonstop destinations from Los Angeles. As the largest West Coast-based airline, we’re well positioned to offer our customers convenient access to one of the Caribbean’s most popular destinations,” said John Kirby, Alaska Airlines vice president of capacity planning.”
JetBlue: “JetBlue proposed to fly 15 daily frequencies connecting 4 Cuba cities with 6 U.S. cities, including the airline’s focus cities in South Florida, New York and Boston. Proposed routes include:
New York (Kennedy) – Havana (2 daily frequencies)
Fort Lauderdale – Havana (4 daily frequencies)
Fort Lauderdale – Camagüey (1 daily frequency)
Fort Lauderdale – Holguin (1 daily frequency)
Fort Lauderdale – Santa Clara (1 daily frequency)
Orlando – Havana (2 daily frequencies)
Tampa – Havana (2 daily frequencies)
Newark – Havana (1 daily frequency)
Boston – Havana (1 daily frequency)
JetBlue anticipates a start date of September 8, 2016 or within 100 days after receipt of all necessary approvals, whichever is earlier.”
The competition is fierce for these slots and it will be interesting to see who are the winning bidders are, and what city pairs they will serve. Stay tuned!