United Airlines submitted an updated filing with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for authority to begin commercial air service to Cuba from its gateways in Newark/New York, Houston, Washington and Chicago to Havana’s José Martí International Airport in Cuba.
According to a press release, United says its proposal for nonstop service to Havana from four of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas, home to some of the largest Cuban-American populations, would bring the most choice, convenience and competition for consumers.
“Customers benefit most when there’s diversity of travel options across carriers and cities. The U.S. Department of Transportation has a tremendous opportunity to make convenient and accessible travel to Cuba available to customers across the United States,” said Steve Morrissey, United’s vice president of regulatory and policy affairs. “With a route network that offers the greatest number of flights in many of the largest U.S. cities, United is ideally positioned to maximize customer choice and access.”
More than 15,000 customers, employees, elected officials and business leaders have sent letters to the DOT in support of United’s proposal.
Daily nonstop service from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
United’s proposed daily nonstop flight from Newark Liberty International Airport would provide unique value in serving the Newark/New York City region, the largest metropolitan area in the country and home to the second-largest population of Cuban Americans.
Saturday nonstop service from Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport is United’s gateway to Latin America.
Saturday nonstop service from Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)
The Washington metropolitan area is home to the nation’s tenth-largest Cuban-American population and to key political and economic organizations building the U.S.-Cuba relationship.
Saturday nonstop service from Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
Chicago is home to the country’s sixth-largest Cuban-American community.
Expanding authorized travel is a critical focus of President Obama’s approach to Cuba policy, which emphasizes engagement with the Cuban people.
Here are additional facts:
- There is no agreement regarding rights and clearances for Cuba’s national airline to fly between the US and Cuba;
- The agreement allows for 20 regular daily US flights to Havana, in addition to the current 10-15 charter flights a day – other Cuban cities would be in addition to the 20 Havana flights;
- Citizens and residents from the US will continue to be required to travel according one of the twelve travel categories legally authorized by the US government – which essentially excludes vacation travel.
In case you are fascinated by bi-lateral air transport agreements, here is the original one signed between Cuba and the US in 1953.