American and United welcome Cuba-US air services agreement
16 / 02 / 2016
American Airlines and United welcomed today’s signing of a new US-Cuba air services pact that opens up a scheduled services market closed since the 1960s.
American’s chairman and chief executive Doug Parker said: "American Airlines commends the US government for its commitment to re-establishing cultural and economic ties between the US and Cuba, and for laying the groundwork to restore scheduled air service between the two countries for the first time in more than 50 years.
"American looks forward to submitting a Cuba service proposal to the Department of Transportation (DoT) in the coming weeks."
United applauded the signing and said it intends to apply to offer service between some of its global gateways and Havana through the Department of Transportation’s pending route case.
The new arrangement, signed today by US transportation secretary Anthony Foxx in Cuba, provides each country with the opportunity to operate up to 20 daily roundtrip flights between the US and Havana, the capital of Cuba.
The arrangement also provides each country with the opportunity to operate up to 10 daily roundtrip flights between the US and each of Cuba’s nine other international airports, providing US carriers with the opportunity to operate up to a total of 110 daily roundtrip flights.
The arrangement does not limit charter services, meaning that no DoT allocation procedures are needed and charter flights can continue as before.
The DoT stated: “Today’s agreement invites applications from US carriers and initiates a proceeding for the DoT to select which US carriers will be able to offer scheduled flights to Cuba, and from which US points.
“In making its selection, the department will consider which proposals will offer and maintain the best service to the traveling and shipping public.
“The department recognises the eagerness of US carriers to take advantage of these new Cuba opportunities, and intends to reach a final decision as expeditiously as possible.”
American Airlines’ Latin America gateway hub at Miami International Airport (MIA) will be included in the company’s application for scheduled service to Cuba, said airline boss Parker.
American is also considering applying to serve Cuba from other hubs. In 2015, American operated approximately 1,200 charter flights to Cuba ─ more than any other US carrier and a significant increase over the prior year.