A year after historic flight, U.S. airline JetBlue opens office in Cuba

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U.S. airline JetBlue inaugurated a commercial office in Havana, exactly a year and a day after the company’s historic flight in 2016 resumed commercial air service between Cuba and the United States.

“Our customers will receive personalized service and hospitality that distinguishes JetBlue. I am proud to open this ticket office and together we commemorate the start of the second year of commercial service in Cuba,” Robin Hayes, CEO of JetBlue, told those gathered, including officials from Cuban aviation.

On Aug. 31, 2016, JetBlue became the first airline to operate a commercial flight between Cuba and the United States in more than half a century.

Over the past year, the carrier has transported more than 390,000 passengers aboard approximately 2,000 flights between the two nations.

“JetBlue is proud to have introduced low rates and excellent service to the Cuban market and over the past year we have adjusted our capacity on the routes to Havana, Camaguey, Holguin and Santa Clara, maintaining the same number of flights,” added the executive.

JetBlue’s ticket and reservations office is located at Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport.
Ibrahim Ferradaz, business director at the Cuban Aviation Corporation, said that the airlink between the two countries benefits both sides.

“These regular commercial flights also have an obvious and positive economic impact on the United States, helping to create jobs and stabilize the market despite the limitations and restrictions caused by the economic blockade,” he said.

Currently, six U.S. airlines, including JetBlue, American Airlines, Delta, United, Southwest and Alaska Airlines, fly regularly to different destinations in Cuba.

In June, U.S. President Donald Trump said he would revert much of the political rapprochement in bilateral ties begun by his predecessor Barack Obama, arguing that it only benefited the government of Raul Castro, not the Cuban people.

Trump barred U.S. companies from doing business with firms associated with Cuba’s military, saying that he would also reintroduce travel restrictions on U.S. citizens wanting to visit the Caribbean nation.

The specifics of this new policy have not yet been announced by the Department of the Treasury as U.S. visitors continue traveling to Cuba under 12 categories of authorized trips that allow people-to-people exchange for educational, religious, humanitarian or cultural purposes.

In 2016, 284,937 Americans traveled to Cuba, while 284,565 visited the Caribbean island country in the first five months of this year.

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