• United-Airlines-Boeing-777-300(ER)--1

    United Airlines

    IATA/ICAO Code:
    UA/UAL

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Hub(s):
    Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Denver International Airport, Guam International Airport, Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport

    Year Founded:
    1931

    Alliance:
    Star Alliance

    CEO:
    Scott Kirby

    Country:
    United States

United Airlines is looking to resume its commercial services to Cuba after a two-and-a-half-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, the airline is worried it will miss an October 31 deadline imposed by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) due to the challenges.

Resuming the flights?

As reported by Reuters, the Chicago-based airline said it has been working for months to relaunch its passenger flights from Houston Airport (IAH) and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to Havana International Airport (HAV). According to data by Cirium, United Airlines has scheduled up to 14 weekly services to Havana starting in November. The carrier temporarily suspended its connectivity to Cuba due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nonetheless, the airline currently faces certain hurdles to resuming its international connectivity to the Caribbean country. The airline said it needs to “undertake significant work including re-negotiating multiple contracts with service providers that have lapsed, building out necessary infrastructure in Terminal 3 at Havana’s airport where United is being relocated.”

Simple Flying reached United for comment on its plans to Cuba. The airline wasn’t immediately available to respond.

A United Airlines Boeing 767-300

United is looking to resume its flights to Cuba. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

DOT deadline

United Airlines has asked the US DOT for a waiver for 30 additional days as it works to resume its commercial service. The carrier is worried that, given the challenges previously explained, it will not be able to resume flights to Cuba by the deadline imposed by the DOT on October 31.

Earlier this year, the DOT lifted a series of restrictions on flights to Cuba imposed by Donald Trump’s administration. For instance, US carriers are now able to fly to smaller Cuban airports outside Havana.

Two United Airlines aircraft flying next to each other.

United could operate up to 14 weekly flights to Cuba. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

Coming flights to Cuba

This week, the DOT approved the application of American Airlines and JetBlue to increase their weekly number of commercial services between the United States and Cuba. Both companies are now able to offer up to 14 additional weekly flights to the Caribbean country.

By November, it is expected there will be up to 21 weekly flights between both countries, offered by four US carriers, American Airlines, JetBlue, United Airlines (pending the possible waiver), and Southwest.

American Airlines will fly from Miami International Airport to Camagüey (CMW), Havana (HAV), Holguín (HOG), Santiago de Cuba (SCU), Santa Clara (SNU), and Varadero (VRA), offering up to 84 weekly flights. JetBlue will fly to Havana from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) and New York (JFK) with up to 20 weekly flights. Southwest will fly to Havana from Fort Lauderdale and Tampa, with up to 29 weekly flights. United expects to operate 14 weekly services to Havana from Newark and Houston.

Compared to November 2017, there are 15.0% fewer flights scheduled from the United States to Cuba (although only 1.3% fewer seats are available). Using data from Cirium, there are ten routes still inactive and two carriers that have not announced their plans to resume connectivity to Cuba (Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines).

What do you think about United’s latest setbacks in resuming commercial services to Cuba? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: Reuters, Cirium.

Source: simpleflying.com

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