Delta Resumes Flights to Cuba after Three Years
HAVANA TIMES – After three years of interruption due to the coronavirus pandemic, Delta Airlines announced that it will resume operations with Havana on April 10. The company will reconnect the capital of Cuba with Miami International Airport with two daily direct flights, it reported in a statement published on its website.
The airline has allocated an Airbus A320 aircraft, with First Class, Delta Comfort+ and Main Cabin ticket options. Its first daily flight will leave Havana at 11:55 a.m. and the second at 4:25 p.m., while the route from Miami is scheduled to depart at 9:05 a.m. and 1:40 p.m.
Delta, whose base of operations is in Atlanta, is the only American airline to fly to the Island since 1953, but it suspended operations in 1961 due to the political and migratory instability caused by the Revolution.
The pause lasted 55 years until 2016, when Delta resumed its flights in the midst of the thaw initiated by then-President Barack Obama. In 2020, it was forced to stop by the coronavirus restrictions. Before the health crisis, the company connected Cuba to Miami, New York-JFK and Atlanta. In its statement, Delta said that it “continues to be committed” to restoring its global network, which will allow it to consolidate a significant increase in profitability.
With the resumption of services with Havana, Delta reports that passengers traveling to Miami will have access to 203 weekly flights, non-stop, from 10 airports in the United States.
In October 2022, Delta joined United Airlines’ request to postpone an extension to the United States Department of Transportation to delay the start of operations, because it needed more time to review contracts with service providers and adjust the infrastructure at José Martí International Airport. The company pointed out that it also had “continuous challenges” to obtain visas for the personnel who would travel to Cuba.
United resumed operations in November 2022 with direct flights to Havana from Houston (Texas) and Newark (New Jersey). That same month, American Airlines reactivated its trips between Miami to Abel Santamaría International Airport, in Santa Clara.
On the eve of the high tourism season, the Cuban government said last November that 45 foreign airlines operated at international airports, including Mexican and Canadian companies, and other less well-known companies such as the Polish Lot and the TAAG Angola.
Foreign tourism in 2023 began on the wrong foot with the arrival of 246,000 visitors in January, a figure that, although it exceeds that recorded in January 2022, when 86,424 were received, is 37.5% below the 393,762 foreigners who visited the Island in January 2020, before the shutdowns.
Authorities expect the long-awaited recovery of the tourism industry to be achieved this year, but industry specialists expect the world to return to pre-pandemic tourism levels only in 2024 or 2025.
Translated by Regina Anavy for Translating Cuba