Cuba is 90-miles off the coast of Florida. It’s a nation that is now served by most U.S. airlines. But aviation in Cuba is enshrouded in mystery. We literally have no idea what is going on.
There are Trip Advisor forums filled with contractdictory information. There are unsourced news stories from blogs like mine. Some say all domestic flights in Cuba are cancelled until September. Others say the suspension has been lifted. I wasted an hour googling for new sources, failing to find any reliable sources (in English or Spanish, not even on Granma).
Not that the Cubana website is anything to lean upon, but it now lists only two destinations:
Yet, search for Cuban domestic flights and you will find them. For example, I found space from Holguin to Havana on June 17th:
Longhaul flights are also operating. For example, you can buy tickets from Buenos Aires to Havana online. That flight is operated by an IL-96, a rarely seen four-engine Russian wide body. But there is discussion in various forums as to whether the flight is actually operating…
We know that Blue Panorama ended its lease with Cubana after the crash of Flight 972 last month that killed 112 (Cubana wasn’t paying its bills). We’ve also heard rumors that Cubana has suspended its fleet of five Antonov AN-158 aircraft due to safety concerns. That does not leave any aircraft for domestic routes. Or maybe it does, because Cubana has not published its fleet anywhere.
So the bottom line is this: we have no idea if/when/how Cubana flights are operating. Isn’t that odd?
And that sort of mirrors my experience. When I visited in Cuba in 2012, I made it point to fly domestically…that was a primary purpose of the trip.
You can read about my domestic Cubana experience here.
In short, I wasted $400 bucks flying an ATR-72 when I thought I would be flying an ancient Russian AN-24. The AN-24 was broken. Then I was accused of being an American spy and had to barter my way back to Havana with a mix of Euros and Dollars…
What a great day…
> Read More – Day Two in Cuba: Accused of Being An American Spy!
I’m fascinated by Cuban aviation and the mystery surrounding Cubana. At this point, we have no idea what is really operating or how often. That’s not how a country rebuilds its economy. And that is certainly not how to run an airline.