By Alexander Britell
WILLEMSTAD — It’s not yet certain when the US and Cuba will ever sign an air services agreement that would pave the way for regularly-scheduled flights.
But several airlines are already operating frequent charter service between the US and Cuba, most notably JetBlue, which has been serving Cuba through charter flights since 2011.
But what does Cuba mean for JetBlue and for the rest of the Caribbean?
The answer is, well, not yet clear, according to JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes, who was the keynote speaker at this year’s Caribbean Tourism Organization State of the Industry conference in Curacao.
“The Cuban market is sure to expand significantly [once regularly scheduled flights begin],” Hayes said. “I don’t expect this growth to come at the expense of other markets in the Caribbean.”
He said Cuba was a “fascinating destination, with so much beauty and intrigue,” he said, though he cautioned that the infrastructure needs to support a large influx of tourists were significant.
“It will be a long time before the full potential of Cuba is realized,” he said. “These transformations don’t happen overnight.”