HAVANA, march 10th Airlines compete for right to service Cuba after several airlines have decided to discontinue service , is irrelevant to other United States carriers who are involved in a hotly contested battle to gain a foothold in this emerging market.
The Department of Transportation has allowed for 20 daily flights the Cuban city of Havana, as well as flights to other cities in the country, after once again allowing flight services to Cuba in February of 2016. The decision was made when the Obama administration decided to reestablish diplomatic relations with Cuba after 50 years of almost no diplomatic interaction.
The initial competition amongst carriers wishing to service the market was stiff and all 20 Havana slots were assigned by August of 2016. But now some airlines have determined that the market not being as strong as they thought it would be along with the complications caused by ongoing diplomatic tensions proved reasons enough for some of these airlines to drop out of the market.
Frontier and Spirit airlines are both examples of carriers who have decided they no longer wished to provide service to Havana. Alaska Airlines, who had been offering flights from Los Angeles to Havana ended its bid to provide services in January and Delta Air Lines has restricted flights that will take passengers from New York’s JFK to Havana to Saturday only after once offering daily service.
American Airline is one carrier that is still interested in the Cuban market as they are seeking to add a daily service that would fly from the city of Miami to Havana.
American has stated that it is aware that a decrease in demand has caused other airlines to leave the market but feels that their airline offers the best service available from Miami to Havana and cites the fact that their flights to Havana average an 80 percent capacity as evidence of their claim.
Delta is requesting a daily flight traveling from Miami to Havana in order to replace the flights abandoned by Frontier. The airline has demonstrated its desire to service the Caribbean market and has grown its reach into the market from selling 2.13 million seats in 2013 to 2.96 seats a year ago.
Delta has also argued that its services will be greatly needed when flights resume to Cuba due to the fact that they provide the only competition to American Airlines in the market.