JetBlue to Suspend All Flights to Cuba

Photo: JetBlue

The last day of the airline’s service to Cuba will be September 17.

By Omar Memon (Simple Flying)

HAVANA TIMES – The New York-based hybrid airline JetBlue has announced the suspension of all flights to Cuba after the last day of service on September 17. The news comes after the decline in travel to the island and several regulatory restrictions for customers on both sides. JetBlue was the first airline in the US to operate commercial flights between the two countries in more than 50 years. After more than seven years of scheduled services to the island, it is now time to quit.

Suspension of all Cuba service

The airline that made history by operating the first commercial flight between the United States and Cuba in 2016 after more than five decades announced a strategic move. The 2016 announcement was a result of restored diplomatic ties between the two countries in July 2015.

JetBlue was the first to explore the potential of air travel to the island. Seven years later, things concerning Cuban routes look bleak for the airline.

The airline desires to discontinue all services to Cuba in an effort to concentrate on routes that show increased demand and perform better. The regulatory restrictions and economic relations are hindering the airline in coping with route performance. According to the airline officials,

Demand for travel to the island has been significantly affected by changes to the regulatory landscape and restrictions on our customers’ ability to enter Cuba. We look forward to resuming our service to Havana and continuing to pursue opportunities within Cuba should travel become more accessible in the future.

Since last year, residents of Cuba have been facing numerous travel restrictions when attempting to enter the country from the United States. The Cuban government has been vocal about certain individuals who are prohibited from entering the country. A number of individuals have either been denied boarding or been refused entry into the country.

Moreover, the country has struggled to regain the tourism with lingering effects of the pandemic. In January, Cuba required passengers to complete a pre-arrival form known as D’VIAJEROS. The airline is required to receive the completed form before traveling to the island nation.

JetBlue has shown the intention to resume services to Havana in the future should the travel conditions and demand become more favorable. Suspending the route to Havana also means deploying the aircraft and resources to destinations that are more favorable for the airline’s business model. Moreover, the airline is keen to concentrate on better-performing routes in the network.

The exit from Havana may lead to increased frequencies on other routes or the initiation of new routes by the airline. With the forecasted increase in travel during the upcoming winter season, airlines aim to cash on the opportunity by focusing on high-performance routes.

The carrier will proactively provide full refunds to customers who are affected by the suspension of routes to Cuba.

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times.

4 thoughts on “JetBlue to Suspend All Flights to Cuba

  • WestJet a Canadian airline, ceased all flights to and from Cuba in May, 2023. Flights will resume on October 30. Air Canada ceased all flights to and from Havana in 2021 and only flies to Varadero. The reason is the massive decline in Canadians wishing to have vacations in Cuba. By 2019, some 4 million tourists flew to Cuba per year. In 2022 the figure was only some 360 thousand. Hotel occupancy is under 30%, but the Diaz-Canel dictatorship insists upon building more hotels – the blind leading the blind. Increased levels of repression by Cuba of its people, forcefully illustrated on July 11, 2021, has not escaped notice in the free capitalist world. The response by Cuba to the Russian invasion of Ukraine being another factor. Even Cuba’s supposed allies, tire of the endeavors of Diaz-Canel to fill his ever present begging bowl, having their own problems to resolve. Cuba continues to reduce agricultural production which is key to the country’s plight. Imagine, Cuba now has to import even sugar!

  • So sorry to read that Jet Blue will cease operations to Havana, CUBA this month.
    I have traveled there twice on two other airlines and had possible plans to return to volunteer with Global Volunteers out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA with the People to People program during the Christmas holidays.
    Hopefully, an airline will pick up the route and prosper along with it.

  • “In January, Cuba required passengers to complete a pre-arrival form known as D’VIAJEROS.” This digital detail will not deter Americans from visiting the island. Many Americans who were born and raised in Cuba and are now dual citizens in the U S A but not in Cuba have other options. Many Cuban- Americans fly out of Toronto, Canada or use airports in Western Canada to board Canadian airlines.

    Though this does not exempt those American passengers from having to complete the D’VIAJEROS digital form prior to boarding. All passengers to Cuba must complete the digital form. I assume, the Cuban authorities want to eliminate burdensome paperwork and move their tourist industry into the 21st century. Their new digital entry form is no different than the recently announced entry requirement for European bound travellers. Travellers to most European countries will soon have to pay a small stipend to enter Europe, plus complete a digital form.

    I doubt European site seekers and tourists with a yearning to see and experience Europe will reconsider their travel plans because of the newly implemented inconvenience. Similarly with travel to Cuba. A digital drawback and an airline cancellation will deter some but not those Cubans wanting and determined to visit left behind family and friends.

    JetBlue is like any other profit seeking airline corporation. If the paying passengers are few, the airline needs to reconsider its operations irrespective of the host country’s ideological leanings. As a capitalist airline corporation, I doubt it very much whether Cuba’s lack of human rights for its citizens entered its decision to exit the island. JetBlue shareholders want to see profit in their airline investment and if Cuban flights fail to deliver profit because of empty seats, Cuba is canceled.

    As the company stated it will return to Cuba, not once human rights are restored to its citizens or the Cuban government undertakes to become more democratic, though that would be good, but when paying passengers fill seats for the Cuban bound flights. In a capitalist country like the USA it is money that matters. Insufficient bums not on paying seats will get any airline to cancel your country.

  • There you have it For those people that always taking to easy sanctions against the dictatorship. Jet blue naively and with an appetite for business opened its doors in the Obama era to realize that the dictatorship regulates its citizens and restricts its citizens. on the Castro farm, who would have imagined it, they regulate people

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