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New Deal Between the US and Cuba Will See 110 Daily Flights
In a new deal between the United States and Cuba, US airlines will have the rights to 110 daily scheduled flights to the Caribbean island. There’s a catch though for the airlines: only 20 of those 110 flights can be to the Cuban capital of Havana. The remaining 90 flights will be distributed between the nine remaining international airports in Cuba, with 10 flights a day to each. Existing charter flights are not affected by this new deal.
The deal, which took three days to iron out in Washington, will likely not see flights to Cuba begin until early 2016. Due to the limited number of flights available to Havana the competition to acquire rights on the route will be tense. American and jetBlue, among others, seem most interested in winning the battle for Havana. It is likely to take the DOT two or three months to settle the competition and decide who earns the rights.
— American Airlines (@AmericanAir) December 17, 2015
Helloo, Cuba! We’re proud of the U.S. and Cuban governments coming to such a historic agreement. We’ll see you soon! pic.twitter.com/mErmBuhY9i
— Delta (@Delta) December 17, 2015
Another question is what kind of demand will be seen for the other nine cities included in the deal; one, Varadero, is already an established tourist destination from Europe and Canada. The other cities remain an unknown to the American tourist and will likely see mostly “friends and family” traffic in the beginning.
However concerns about the surge in traffic to the island nation remain. These new flights will not start all at once; the Cuban government will slowly ease into the traffic to see how the government copes with the increased number of flights. Another concern is the infrastructure in Cuba. For example, in Havana, the current international airport is already at capacity and nearly all the hotels in the city area are booked well into the next year.
The new flights will represent more than double the amount of travel between the Unites States and Cuba. Flights had already increased in the past year by 50 percent. Traffic has already increased between Cuba and other nations putting an either greater strain on the tourist industry in Cuba.
The deal shows the improved relationship between the United States and Cuba. The United States has held an embargo on trade and travel with Cuba since the Cold War. The new relationship has already seen embassies open in Washington and Havana and a deal is in place to begin mail service between the two countries. The new travel deal shows the thawing relationship between the two countries.
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