Alaska Airlines today filed an application with the US Department of Transportation seeking approval to fly two daily nonstop flights from its Latin America gateway of Los Angeles to Havana, Cuba.
Scheduled commercial flight service between Cuba and the US has been suspended for decades. Charter flights have connected the two countries in the interim, with carriers from JetBlue to American Airlines operating the flights.
The Los Angeles metro area has the largest Cuban-American population in the Western United States.
In its application, Alaska is seeking to operate two daily nonstop flights to Havana using a Boeing 737-900ER, which carries 181 passengers in a two-class configuration.
“Together with our 14 global partner airlines, Alaska Airlines offers more than 110 nonstop destinations from Los Angeles. As the largest West Coast-based airline, we’re well positioned to offer our customers convenient access to one of the Caribbean’s most popular destinations,” said John Kirby, Alaska Airlines vice president of capacity planning.
Citing Alaska’s expansive West Coast route structure and low fares, Kirby said Alaska is excited for the opportunity to offer commercial service from the United States to Havana for the first time in over 50 years. With nearly three decades of international service from Los Angeles, Alaska Airlines offers nonstop service to nine destinations in Latin America with the most peak season flights from Los Angeles to popular Mexican resort destinations including Mazatlán, Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta.
Alaska Airlines’ two daytime flights will be attractive to local Los Angeles business, leisure and Cuban American customers, and provide convenient connecting options for fliers traveling to and from large West Coast cities like Anchorage, Alaska, Portland, Oregon and Seattle.
Last year, the US and Cuba reached a bilateral agreement to establish scheduled air services between the two countries. The bilateral agreement will provides for both countries to offer up to 20 daily roundtrip flights per day between US cities and Havana, along with up to 10 daily roundtrip flights between the United States and each of Cuba’s nine other international airports. That means the opportunities for US carriers to operate up to 110 daily flights between the US and Cuba; the agreement does not affect charter service, which has been operating for some time.