Earlier this month I wrote about the battle for Havana slots. Like a game of musical chairs, demand outstripped supply and it was up to the U.S. Department of Transportation to divvy out the slots.
Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Transportation tentatively awarded four daily and six weekly flights to a mix of five airlines.
- American Airlines – Miami to Havana – Boeing 737-800 (160 seats) – daily
- Delta Air Lines – Miami to Havana – Airbus A320 (160 seats) – daily
- JetBlue Airways – Fort Lauderdale to Havana – A320 (162 seats) – Sunday – Friday
- JetBlue Airways – Boston to Havana – A320 (162 seats) – Saturday only
- Southwest Airlines – Fort Lauderdale to Havana – 737-700 (143 seats) or 737-800 (175 seats) – daily
- United Airlines + Mesa Airlines- Houston to Havana – 737-800 (154 seats) or Embraer 175 (76 seats) – daily
Concerning the last bullet point, United already flies once per week (Saturday) to Havana utilizing a mainline 737-800. United and Mesa offered the DOT a joint proposal in which aircraft type will vary “as economic conditions warrant.” Look for more Embraer 175, than 737-800, methinks…
The good news for consumers is that with more service coming to Havana, we can expect reductions in price. The fact that so many airlines have suspended or reduced flights to Cuba demonstrates what an emerging market it remains. Fares already tend to be decent to Cuba: these new flights will only solidify that trend.