Southwest Airlines filed an application today with the US government requesting approval to serve 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.
Southwest is planning daily nonstop flights from the carrier’s three busiest airports in Florida: Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL); Tampa Bay International Airport (TPA); and Orlando International Airport (MCO).
The carrier applied to serve Havana (HAV) from all three Florida cities and additionally to serve Varadero (VRA) and Santa Clara (SNU) from Ft. Lauderdale (Miami Area). Upon approval, Southwest intends to initiate service to Cuba later this year. Click here to read Southwest Airlines’ application for service to Cuba.
As part of the effort to bring low-fare competition and Customer-friendly travel options to Cuba, the carrier is asking Customers to take action and support Southwest’s Countdown to Cuba by visiting Southwest.com/Cuba to sign a petition in support of Southwest’s proposed Cuba service.
“We’re ready to add Cuba to our route map and offer this emerging market Southwest’s low fares, bags fly free with no change fees*, and our legendary customer service,” said Gary Kelly, Chairman, President & CEO of Southwest Airlines. “We carry more Florida travelers and more U.S. passengers every day than any other airline, and the service we’re proposing aims to bring maximum value to the greatest number of potential Customers for Cuba air service.”
An essential component of the Company’s FLL international service will be flights to Cuba.
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.