The scramble for Cuban air routes

Taking off for Cuba...soon!

Taking off for Cuba...soon!

It is not every day that a large air travel market opens up next door to the United States.

No wonder that the announcement that 110 daily frequencies between the two countries would be authorized, started a sort of scramble to get a solid footing in the Cuban market.

In reality, the market is not being completely liberalized, plenty of restrictions will continue to be in place, possibly the most remarkable of them is that trips for purely touristic purposes will continue to be under embargo (only 12 categories of activities such as government-related work, educational, religious or cooperation or visiting relatives, are allowed)

Plus only 20 of these 110 frequencies are going to be for Havana flights, by far the most attractive of the 10 authorized Cuban gateways.

Most of the major US airlines have applied (you can see the who's who here) for route permits, with airlines with a strong presence in the Florida market such as American Airlines and JetBlue, at the forefront.  Now it is the turn of the federal government to assign the flying rights.

Some of these airlines are, actually, already present in Cuba, since charter flights have been running between the two countries already for quite a long time.

But, not only airlines have an eye on the Cuban market, those fortunate enough to fly private will also be able to fly between the US and Cuba. JetSuite, an innovative and (at least by private aviation standards) relatively affordable executive aviation operator plans to launch flights from 12 American cities.

Private flights will have to go through one of the following approved gateway airports: Key West, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Fort Myers, Palm Beach, Tampa, Orlando, New Orleans, Atlanta, Houston, Austin, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Baltimore (BWI), New York (JFK), Chicago (ORD).

An interesting encounter between communist Cuba and that symbol of American capitalism, the private jet!