- JetBlue is suspending all flights to Cuba due to declining travel and government restrictions.
- Restrictions on customer entry to Cuba and changes in the regulatory landscape have impacted demand.
- The suspension of the Havana route allows aircraft and resources to be deployed on cheaper routes.
New York-based hybrid airline JetBlue has announced the suspension of all flights to Cuba after the last day of flights on September 17th. The news comes after the decline in travel to the island and several government restrictions on customers on both sides. JetBlue was the first U.S. airline in more than 50 years to operate commercial flights between the two countries. After more than seven years of regular service on the island, it is now time to stop.
Discontinuation of all Cuba services
The airline, which made history by operating the first commercial flight between the United States and Cuba in more than five decades in 2016, announced a strategic move. The 2016 announcement was the result of the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries in July 2015.
JetBlue was the first to explore the potential of air travel to the island. Seven years later, things are looking bleak for the airline regarding its Cuban routes.
The airline wants to suspend all flights to Cuba to focus on routes that have increased demand and perform better. The regulatory restrictions and economic relationships hinder the airline in managing route performance. According to airline representatives
Demand for travel to the island has been significantly impacted by changes in the regulatory landscape and restrictions on our customers’ ability to enter Cuba. We look forward to resuming service to Havana and continuing to pursue opportunities within Cuba should travel become more accessible in the future.
Since last year, Cuban residents have faced numerous travel restrictions when attempting to enter the country from the United States. The Cuban government has been vocal about certain individuals being banned from entering the country. A number of people were either denied boarding or refused entry into the country.
Photo: Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock
Furthermore, with the ongoing impact of the pandemic, the country is struggling to revive tourism. In January, Cuba required passengers to fill out a form called D’VIAJEROS before arrival. The airline must receive the completed form before traveling to the island nation.
JetBlue has stated its intention to resume flights to Havana in the future if travel conditions and demand become more favorable. Suspending the Havana route also means deploying aircraft and resources to destinations more favorable to the airline’s business model. Additionally, the airline is committed to focusing on higher-performing routes in the network.
Photo: Philip Pilosian | Shutterstock
The exit from Havana may lead to an increase in frequencies on other routes or the introduction of new routes by the airline. With travel predicted to increase in the coming winter season, airlines are looking to capitalize on this opportunity by focusing on high-performing routes.
The airline will proactively provide full refunds to customers affected by the suspension of routes to Cuba.
What do you think about JetBlue suspending all service to and from Cuba? Have you ever traveled to Cuba with JetBlue? Let us know in the comments section.
Source: NBC News