Southwest Airlines began inaugural flights to Havana, Cuba Dec. 12 from two Florida gateway airports, Tampa International and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International.
Southwest will operate 1X-daily Tampa-Havana service and 2X-daily Fort Lauderdale-Havana services. The Dallas-based airline flew to its first Cuban destination, Varadero, on Nov. 13. The airline will launch service to a third Cuban city, Santa Clara, Dec. 13, with 1X-daily service from Fort Lauderdale.
“By the end of this year, we’ll offer six daily roundtrips between two Florida gateways and three Cuban cities as the work continues to open a new, five-gate international concourse here in Fort Lauderdale next summer,” Southwest VP-ground operations Steve Goldberg said.
Since American Airlines and JetBlue launched the first commercial passenger flights between the US and Havana Nov. 28, four additional US carriers have begun scheduled service to the island nation’s capital, including United Airlines, which began Newark-Havana service Nov. 29, and Delta Air Lines, Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines, which all began service Dec. 1. Alaska Airlines will launch its Havana service from Los Angeles Jan. 5, 2017.
The US announced the resumption of commercial passenger airline service to Cuba following the signing of an agreement between the two countries Feb. 17. The first commercial flights between the US mainland and Cuba began Aug. 31, with a JetBlue flight from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Santa Clara, Cuba. That same day the US Department of Transportation awarded eight US airlines service routes to Havana.
(Mark Nensel - ATWOnline News)