ATLANTA – It took a little over half a century, but Delta Air Lines has finally found its way back to Cuba with new regularly scheduled service.
The airline has resumed nonstop daily service from the U.S. to Cuba for the first time in 55 years, with flights departing from Miami, New York-JFK and Atlanta to Havana. Delta Flight 625 touched down at Havana’s José Martí International Airport just after 10 a.m. today, making it the first official regularly scheduled Delta passenger flight since service was suspended in December 1961.
Delta is the only existing U.S. carrier to previously operate passenger service until it was suspended in 1961 due to an unstable political climate and profitability challenged. The airline was also the last U.S. carrier to exit the Cuban market with the suspension of its Havana to New Orleans service.
“Today marks the resumption of service to a storied travel destination that has lacked a direct connection to the U.S. for most of our lifetimes,” said Steve Sear, President – International and Executive Vice President – Global Sales. “We thank the authorities and officials who allowed us to resume passenger service and are proud of the Delta team who worked tirelessly this past year to add that dot back to our route maps after its absence for more than half a century.”
Delta is among eight carriers granted authority by the Department of Transportation to serve Havana, and it began selling flights from the U.S. to Cuba in September. In early November, it became the first U.S. airline to open a City Ticket Office in downtown Havana to support local tickets sales for Cubans travelling to the U.S. Delta will offer almost 3,000 seats weekly between the U.S. and Cuba.
While Delta is ramping up its service to the island nation, American Airlines is planning to cut capacity due to low demand. Matt Miller, a spokesman for the airline, confirms that the number of daily roundtrip flights to Cuba will decrease from 13 to 10 from early February, reports TravelMole.
In addition, American will downgrade its aircraft to smaller jets on two routes.
Although U.S. president-elect Donald Trump has threatened to “terminate” the U.S. détente with Cuba, Miller told news source Bloomberg that the decision to cut back flights has not been affected by the uncertainty of Trump’s upcoming administration.