Air Canada Resumes Flights To Cuba

Air Canada has returned to Cuba, with flights resuming to Havana following the removal of the final COVID-19 restrictions in the country. The first flight to Havana operated on October 28th, with a service from Toronto Pearson International Airport. Cuba is a popular destination for Canadians, particularly in the winter months, and is an important market for the Cuban tourist industry. Air Canada returning to Cuba provides more competition for Canadian airlines already flying to the country and gives more choices for passengers.

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Visitors from Canada are a large market for Cuban tourism

Air Canada is responding to the removal of all COVID-19 restrictions in Cuba and the increasing outbound demand for visitors to Cuba from Canada. Cuba was one of the first countries to reopen to tourists after starting its vaccination program earlier than other countries. Cuba has been open to tourists since July 1st, 2020, but earlier in 2022, all restrictions were removed, including testing and wearing masks.

Photo: Air Canada

Air Canada will operate five direct flights to Havana each week and other destinations in the country from Canada. The airline will also make it easier for visitors from Japan to visit Cuba with convenient connections from Tokyo via Vancouver and Toronto.

With Air Canada reentering the market and joining other airlines from Canada, the tourism industry in Cuba is expecting a successful winter season. Lessner Gomez, Director of the Cuba Tourist Board, said,

“If the numbers continue like this and airlines and tour operators continue to show interest in Cuba, then we’ll have a similar winter to 2019. And now, without any travel restrictions in Cuba, and Canada dropping Covid measures at the border, we ‘re expecting even more visitors from Canada, our top market.”

Air Canada is following other airlines resuming flights to Cuba

Air Canada joins Sunwing, Air Transat, and Swoop in Cuba this winter season. Some airlines have already resumed flights to Cuba after the pandemic, and with Air Canada joining them again, tourists have many options to escape for some winter sun.

In October 2022, there are over 50 flights per week from Canada to Cuba. This will increase from November and through the winter season. Sunwing is operating a mix of new services and resumption of previous flights from Toronto to Cuba. Air Transat starts flying from Montreal to Havana in December, and Swoop is entering the market with flights to Varadero from Toronto in January 2023.

According to the latest Air Canada flight schedules, it will be operating direct flights from various Canadian airports to five destinations in Cuba:

  • Havana
  • Cayo Coco
  • Holguin
  • Santa Clara
  • Varadero

Photo: Air Canada

Air Canada’s direct flights to Cuba from Toronto and Montreal will use narrowbody aircraft, predominantly the Airbus A20 family fleet. Havana is only served from Toronto, and Varadero is also served from Quebec City. However, with an extensive network, Cuba is within easy reach for most Canadians, with Air Canada using connections from Toronto and Montreal.

Despite Hurricane Ian hitting Cuba in September 2022, the tourism industry in Cuba is ready to welcome back visitors, and a new promotional campaign has been launched to entice people back. Air Canada has been watching the developments and responded accordingly to ensure it can regain a segment of this lucrative market.

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