HAVANA, July 6th The fact that JetBlue is getting set to launch nonstop Boston-Havana flights from November 10 has implications far beyond connecting two dots on the route map.
It seems to signal that the low fare-high touch US airline is, if not exactly staking its future on Cuban connections, at least looking at the U.S.-Cuban market as one worth cultivating for the long term.
With the addition of Boston, “JetBlue will operate more than 50 weekly flights between the U.S. and Cuba from every one of our East Coast focus cities,” says John Checketts, the carrier’s vice president of network planning.
That means New York JFK, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International and Orlando – along with Boston – are all anchors for the beefed-up Cuba service.
JetBlue was the first U.S. airline to operate full-blown commercial flights between the U.S. and the once-isolated island nation in some 50 years. Even as many competitor carriers pared back Cuban flights after an initial rush to launch them, JetBlue decided to up the ante instead.
The new Boston nonstop is a Saturday-only affair. JetBlue connections to cities such as Detroit, Cleveland and Pittsburgh—among others—will render Havana just one change of planes away for travelers.
The airline intends to field some 200 daily departures from BOS in the coming years. JetBlue is also expanding Sunday through Friday flights between Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport and Havana’s Jose Marti International.
FLL is a linchpin for the airline’s Cuban operations, serving as well as Cuba’s capital city, Santa Clara, Camaguey and Holguin.
A note to potential Cuba-bound flyers: you must be qualified to a take the trip, belonging to one of the dozen approved categories travel categories outlined by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.