US forwarders urge DoT to think freight when awarding Cuba licenses

The US Airforwarders Association (AFA) has urged the country’s Department of Transportation (DoT) to assign routes for Cuba to US passenger airlines that also offer air cargo service.
The AFA said a total of eight US carriers had applied to operate routes from between the US and Cuba, but only five of those airlines — Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines and Alaska Airlines — offer cargo services.
AFA executive director Brandon Fried said: “The opening of Cuba to travel is about more than just moving people, it will also be about trade.
“The eligibility of any airline that ultimately cannot fill planes with both passengers and cargo should be looked upon less favourably.”
The association added: “At this point, significant airport infrastructure and economic limitations exist within Cuba that present real challenges to trade.
“Once those limitations are solved, the Airforwarders Association looks forward to working with carriers that, as experienced cargo handlers, intend to offer airfreight service to enhance trade promotion with Cuba.”
The DoT plans to study the requests with final comments and answers due on March 21.

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