Demand from the USA into Cuba appears to be dropping from most gateways but American Airlines is not too worried. Indeed, the carrier sees an opportunity in the market still and hopes to grow. It applied this week to fly two more daily flights from its Miami hub to Havana.
Service between the US and Cuba is strictly regulated and only 20 daily flights are permitted to Havana. Airlines battled aggressively to secure those slots in 2016 but many realized that they would not be profitable. Silver Airways and Frontier Airlines quickly dropped service in early 2017. Alaska Airlines held out a little longer but dropped its flight later that year. Delta Air Lines, American and JetBlue held on longer, JetBlue finally announced earlier this month that it would cut some services at the end of April, freeing up a pair of daily slots. And American wants them.
In its filing to the US Department of Transportation American indicates it would add the two flights on 737-800 aircraft, similar to its other six daily frequencies. The two new flights would be timed to fill a mid-day gap in the carrier’s schedule. Currently American has no southbound flights between 10:30a and 3:45p. The proposed services would depart Miami at 11:40a and 1:40p.
The carrier hopes to launch the flights on or about 4 June 2020, assuming the request is granted. It is unlikely any other airlines will seek the slots being vacated making American’s chances of success very strong.