Delta wants to increase Havana-Miami flights

The U.S. Delta Airlines is satisfied with its presence in Cuba and wants to increase to two the daily flights it offers between Havana and Miami given the high demand for this route, sources from this airline company reported this Saturday to the island’s state-run media.

Delta’s director for South America, Central America and the Caribbean, Rodrigo Bertola, announced that the company is waiting for the permits from the U.S. authorities to add that new frequency, while they are studying the new restrictions imposed by that country’s administration on its citizens’ travel to Cuba in order “to comply with them.”

“It must be recalled that when we started there were also restrictions, the 12 travel categories, now we only have new regulations,” he said.

The United States and Cuba resumed on August 31, 2016 commercial flights from the U.S. after more than half a century in which there were only charter flights.

Americans are still banned from traveling to Cuba as tourists, but the previous administration presided over by Barack Obama approved 12 categories to facilitate travel to the island, which shot up the arrivals of visitors from that country.

The new U.S. president, Donald Trump, who is against the rapprochement promoted by his predecessor, has imposed new restrictions, among them the elimination of people-to-people individual trips, one of the most popular categories.

However, the Delta CEO affirmed that the occupation rate of its flights remained at around 70 percent, a figure that is “positive for a new destination that is subject to restrictions.”

The airline has three offices in Havana, has transported 93,000 passengers since it initiated operations with Cuba in December last year and has daily flights from the Cuban capital to the cities of Miami, New York and Atlanta.

Meanwhile, Delta’s manager for Central America and the Caribbean, Agustín Durand, recognized the Cuban airports’ “high standards” of safety after last October the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill to revise the security systems of the 10 that have commercial flights with that country in order to seek possible faults.

According to official data, between January and October of this year Cuba received 544,171 U.S. visitors, 336,556 more than the same period in 2016.

In the last year some U.S. airlines that started operating in Cuba when commercial flights were resumed have withdrawn, like Alaska Airlines and Silver Airways, while others have reduced their frequencies and eliminated some routes with Cuban cities, among them American and Southwest.

EFE / OnCuba

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