Airlines Now Departing for Cuba
Written by Maribeth L. Minella
EVP & Corporate Counsel, World Travel, Inc.
On Wednesday, August 31, the DOT issued its Final Order for which carriers can and can’t fly to Cuba, and their routing.
On July 7, 2016, the U.S. DOT tentatively allocated twenty available U.S.-Cuba daily frequencies to Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and United Airlines. The DOT took a measured approach so that, in its terms, it could “[provide] an opportunity to introduce scheduled service to Havana after more than fifty years of U.S.-Cuba services being either absent altogether or limited only to charters…[DOT] had an opportunity to introduce U.S. carrier service to a market that has long been unavailable or significantly restricted, by attempting to address a variety of public interest needs in selecting carrier proposals for the award of available rights.” (Final Order at 3.) In yesterday’s Final Order, DOT decided to make final its tentative allocation of the 20 available U.S.- Havana frequencies.
"The DOT had an opportunity to introduce U.S. carrier service to a market that has long been unavailable or significantly restricted...
According to DOT, its Final Order maximizes public benefits by addressing “service needs of substantial communities that are most likely to benefit – primarily centers of Cuban-American population – while at the same, time creating a framework for competitive market structure.” (Id.) A copy of the Final Order is available here.