Low Demand Pushes US Airlines to Cancel Flights to Cuba
On Monday, two US airlines announced that they have plans to cancel their flights to Cuba, one of which is Fort Lauderdale-based Silver Airways, whose representatives said they had made the “difficult but necessary” decision to cancel its services to Cuba from April 22.
This company had obtained Department of the Transportation (DOT) authorization to fly to nine Cuban cities, except Havana.
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Meanwhile, the airline Frontier is canceling its Miami-Havana route starting next June 4 due to unforeseen high costs, and also because of the low demand.
“Market conditions did not materialize there, and there is excess capacity in the Florida-Cuba market,” stated the airline.
The aforementioned airline began its flights to Cuba on December 1st, 2016 with a special introductory rate of USD $ 59 for the Miami-Havana route. At that time, the company had planned daily flights to the Cuban capital, so travelers from Denver and Las Vegas could take connection flights in Miami.
Denver-based Frontier said more than 80 percent of its “new routes have been successful in recent years, but sometimes circumstances prevent us from achieving our goals.”
In 2016, many airlines requested the DOT for the first authorization of flights to Cuba in more than half a century and part of this enthusiasm was due to the opening of trips to the island during former president Barack Obama’s administration. Nevertheless, American travelers can only visit Cuba if they are within 12 specific categories of trips such as family, humanitarian, or educational visits, while beach vacations are only available for European or Canadian tourists.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has ordered a review of all the executive orders issued by former President Obama in connection with Cuba, thus calling into question the future of US-Cuban relations.
“This lack of demand coupled with the overcapacity of larger airlines has meant that Cuban routes are not profitable for all airlines,” Silver said in a statement in which they also added that, “from the beginning, we have stated that these small Cuban markets are best suitable for the smaller type of Silver aircraft.”
“While the total number of passengers currently traveling to Cuba on all airlines is in line with what Silver originally planned, other airlines continue to serve this market with too many flights and large aircraft, which has led to an increase in capacity of approximately 300%,” said the statement.
Source: El Nuevo Herald