American Airlines Gets Green Light To Resume Cuba Flights


  • American Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner From Above

    American Airlines

    IATA/ICAO Code:
    AA/AAL

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Hub(s):
    Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Miami International Airport, New York JFK Airport, LaGuardia Airport, Philadelphia International Airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

    Year Founded:
    1926

    Alliance:
    oneworld

    CEO:
    Robert Isom

    Country:
    United States

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The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has given the green light for American Airlines to resume flights to several airports in Cuba, after the airline’s request was approved on Wednesday.

Earlier this year, American Airlines sought approval to fly from Miami International Airport (MIA) to five airports in Cuba – Camagüey (CMW), Holguín (HOG), Santa Clara (SNU), Santiago de Cuba (SCU), and Varadero (VRA ). This approval has now been granted, and the services will launch in early November 2022, and will complement the airline’s existing flights from Miami to Havana (HAV).

The permission comes after President Biden overturned a ban on passenger flights between the US and all Cuban airports except Havana. The ban was introduced in 2019 by President Trump’s administration in a bid to increase economic pressure on the Cuban government.

From November, American Airlines will operate six routes from Miami to Cuba. Photo: GCmap.com

According to American Airlines, the resumed routes will “enhance service and access between the US and these non-Havana points, after more than two years during which such service was suspended.”

The carrier also added that the approval will “fulfill the public interest by offering and maintaining the best connectivity to Cuba, via Miami.”


More on the overturned ban

The ban on flights from the US to all Cuban airports other than Havana was introduced in 2019 by President Trump’s administration to limit tourism to Cuba. The then Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that Cuba “uses tourism and travel funds to finance its abuses and interference in Venezuela. Dictators cannot be allowed to benefit from US travel.”

American Airlines tails will once again be seen at six Cuban airports, following the reversal of the ban introduced in 2019. Photo: American Airlines

The ban was in place for more than two years, before being overturned by the DOT, at the request of Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who said the reversal was “in support of the Cuban people, and in the foreign policy interests of the United States.”


The move comes as part of a broader revision of policy towards Cuba by the White House.

American Airlines in Cuba

American Airlines currently has six daily flights between Miami and Havana. The five resumed routes are all expected to operate daily, with the exception of Santa Clara, which will be flown twice daily. The additional services will therefore bring the carrier’s total number of daily flights between Miami and Cuba to 12. The flights will be flown by a mixture of Boeing 737-800 and Airbus A319 aircraft.

For more on the resumed services to Cuba, click here.

One of the resumed services will be to Varadero Airport, which is currently the second-busiest airport in the country, after Havana. The airport, located in the Matanzas province, is a significant tourist gateway, and welcomes a large number of scheduled and charter airlines bringing tourists from Canada and Europe, including Canada’s Air Transat, the UK’s TUI Airways, and Germany’s Condor.


Aside from American Airlines, Southwest Airlines is currently the only other US carrier to fly scheduled services to Cuba, with flights to Havana operating from its hubs in Fort Lauderdale and Tampa. It remains to be seen if other US carriers will join American Airlines in resuming services now that the ban has been lifted.

The resumption of service by American Airlines will come just in time for the peak winter tourism season in Cuba, and is likely to be well-received by both tourists and those working in the tourism industry.

Are you planning to travel on one of American Airlines’ resumed services to Cuba? Share your thoughts by commenting below.

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