Southwest Airlines today was informed by U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) that the carrier has been preliminarily awarded authority to serve Havana with twice daily nonstop service from Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, and once daily nonstop service from Tampa Bay International Airport.
Pending finalized authority from DOT and subject to requisite approvals from the Cuban government, Southwest confirms it will begin its Cuba service later this year to Havana (HAV), along with previously awarded service to Varadero (VRA) and Santa Clara (SNU). The carrier will have a total of five daily departures from Ft. Lauderdale (Miami Area) to Cuba—two to Havana, two to Varadero, and one to Santa Clara—plus one daily departure from Tampa to Havana.
“Our Countdown to Cuba continues with new enthusiasm, and we’re finalizing plans to bring our world famous value and Customer Service to these emerging U.S. travel markets,” said Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines Chairman, President, & CEO. “As the largest carrier of domestic passengers in the United States, these nonstop flights from two of our Florida focus cities will provide high-quality, low-fare service to our Customers while also offering convenient connections to Cuba for dozens of U.S. cities across the Southwest network.”
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the decision won’t be final until later this summer in order to provide a 30-day public comment period. Last month, the Transportation Department announced the approval of six U.S. airlines to begin service as early as this fall to other Cuban cities. The government’s decision, if made final, would require that the airlines begin service within 90 days of the issue date of a final order.