Cuba Turns Over Management of its Havana Airport to French Corporations

aeropuerto-jose-marti-cubadebate
Havana’s Jose Martí International Airport will now be managed by French companies.

HAVANA TIMES – The French corporations, Bouygues Batiment International and Aeropuertos de Paris will manage the “Jose Marti” International Airport of Havana, the government announced  today on state television.

The agreement foresees “immediate actions to improve the quality of services” and “investment in the medium and long term,” said a statement from the Cuban Ministry of Transport.

The Cuban government did not provide data on the amount of planned investments in the Havana airport, but announced that similar agreements “will continue to sought out for other airports in the country.”

The granting of the airport in Havana also includes the nearby airfield of San Antonio de los Baños.

Last May, the then Spanish Minister of Development, Ana Pastor, visited Cuba and showed the interest of the Spanish company Aena to manage Cuba’s main airport.

French companies are strengthening their presence on the island, taking advantage of the good diplomatic relations between French President, Francois Hollande, and his Cuban counterpart, Raul Castro, who have exchanged official visits.

Recently, the signing of an agreement between the Ministry of Foreign Trade of Cuba and the French Development Agency to finance French projects on the island was announced.

The agreement will facilitate investments in priority areas as renewable energy, water and sanitation, tourism and transport.

Since the beginning of the “thaw” between Cuba and the United States, the island is experiencing a tourism boom. During the first half of 2016, the number of US visitors grew by 83.9 percent.

Cuban authorities estimate that in 2016 the island will receive 3.7 million foreign tourists, surpassing by 175,200 the figure for the previous year, when the island broke its record by receiving over 3.5 million visitors.


8 thoughts on “Cuba Turns Over Management of its Havana Airport to French Corporations

  • August 8, 2016 at 9:52 am
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    US tourists to Cuba are seen in large groups because they are not permitted to travel as independent tourists. They travel in approved “people-to-people” tour groups. This was intended to avoid providing US tourism dollars to the Cuban government, which owns all the resorts. Ironically, the tour guide companies which shepherd the US tourists around are also owns by the Cuban government. The itineraries of these Potemkin tours are designed to showcase the wonders of Cuban socialism, and they make sure ordinary Cuban people are kept well away from the contaminating contact with yuma tourists.

    Every few years the Cuban authorities announce they have “discovered” huge oil deposits off their north coast. The Russia, Australian, French & Spanish companies suckered into buying contracts to explore the seabed for oil have all turned up empty. The Cuban gov’t claim there are some 20 billion barrels of oil in their reserves. The US Geological survey estimates a more modest 5 to 7 billion barrels. With the price of oil at historic lows, nobody will be in a rush to fund a risky venture to look for oil in Cuba’s waters.

  • August 7, 2016 at 4:32 pm
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    “… and found off the north coast east of Matanzas the mother lode of oil they have been searching for for so long…”

    If you believe that then I’d love to sell you the Morro Castle in Havana… I have clear Title and the price is very, very cheap…

  • August 7, 2016 at 7:43 am
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    Ah, the French to rescue, no mystery why this is happening. France runs an economic system quite different from Cuba’s so the politburo hasn’t a clue what the hell works and doesn’t? It is a brilliant idea though and so very necessary, always love the French plus my friend Carlyle, who comes from our neighbor up north, speaks the language fluently.

  • August 6, 2016 at 6:28 pm
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    Having flown back two days ago, I was thinking how the hell are they going to cope with all those new US flights and Chinese flights as of September, when they can barely cope with more than one flight arriving at the same time at Terminal 3. I dont envy Bouygues and ADPs task of training up Cuban staff to meet tourist/industry expectations: they certainly wont be able to turn things around in less than a month! Luckily Cuba has done a deal (presumably it includes oil) with Saudi Arabia (a perfect match in the human rights department) and found off the north coast east of Matanzas the mother lode of oil they have been searching for for so long – as announced on Cuban TV a couple of days ago. At least there will be fuel for planes and taxis to transport the hordes… Why do US tourists need to go everywhere in big groups? I saw no other nationality feeling the need to walk around Centro Havana en masse. Weird.

  • August 6, 2016 at 2:51 pm
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    The Castro regime itself qualifies as a “failed state organization” so closing it down is an excellent idea.
    I award you the full five ***** stars!

  • August 6, 2016 at 11:28 am
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    Good move. They had no other realistic solution until changes made on management and investment model. Building professional management for sophisticated industry will require a change in the working of the salary compensation model. Incentive can not be ignored without consequences. The other item is one of letting successful companies use own earning to investment in own operations. Starving successful enterprises to prop up marginal operations is a drain that the country can not afford. Failing state organizations need to be allowed to be closed.

  • August 3, 2016 at 5:00 pm
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    At last, a foreign company finally has been given the green light to manage Jose Marti International Airport after 57 years of Cuban airports being off-limits to foreign investors. Because current blockade regulations allow for US aviation companies to sell aviation-related items, while allowing US airlines to open offices in Cuba (including ticket offices) (see https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-01-27/pdf/2016-01557.pdf; https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl0169.aspx), I’m pretty sure that all the US airlines that are slated to begin passenger flights to Cuba later this month have been in negotiations with Havana to rent empty, Soviet-built facilities in Cuba for airline ticket offices.

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