Cuba and US agree deal for commercial flights

| 17/02/2016 | 6 Comments
Cayman News Service

Jose Marti International Airport, Havana, Cuba

(CNS): A new agreement between the United States and Cuba could see more than 100 flights a day between the two countries before the end of this year — five times the traffic currently generated by the charter flights that began when hostilities between the two governments began thawing over  year ago. However, the deal could have a negative impact on Cayman Airways Ltd (CAL), which has taken advantage over the years of the ban on direct travel to Cuba for American travellers.

Both Grand Cayman and, more recently, Cayman Brac have been used as transit points and created a profitable route for CAL to Cuba.

The latest deal was described by the US authorities as a “critically important milestone in the US effort to engage with Cuba” and US Airlines immediately indicated their eagerness to beginning flying to Havana. However, according to US press reports, there are still hurdles for the neighbouring island’s new US tourism market.

Americans must still qualify to travel to Cuba under specific categories authorised by the US government as because travel there as tourists is banned. US citizens are allowed to travel to Cuba for legal business reasons, as well as religious, cultural, journalistic or educational purposes and there are a growing number who do so. Many Cuban Americans also go to visit friends and relatives.

According to media reports, President Barack Obama is also very keen to visit the island before the end of his presidency, which would make him the first serving US president to visit since Calvin Coolidge in 1928.

Tags:

Category: Caribbean Business, US, World Business

Comments (6)

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  1. Just Commentin' says:

    The matter of Cuba entering as a major competitor in the Caribbean tourist market is serious business with very serious ramifications for the Cayman Islands. What shocks me is the paucity of comments on this issue. I cannot wrap my head around the fact that this article has not created a lot more buzz. Nor can I fathom why the issue is not receiving a more media attention, nor why the matter is thus far apparently getting little attention from our elected officials.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The real concern for Cayman is not how the US tourist will get there, it’s what they’ll receive when they arrive. Cuba is going to open up their arms to the US at a price Cayman cannot compete with. It’s closer to the US, it’s going to be cheaper to fly to, and the beautiful resorts that will be built shall offer rates much lower then what’s found here. That country is going to open their arms and offer a welcoming that the entire Carribbean won’t compete with. If tourism is our livelihood, this issue better be considered and put on the highest agenda!

  3. Da-wa-u-get says:

    Mmmm.. Not a good outlook for CAL’s Cuba operations, however, every situation has at least 2 sides, I’m certain that the forward-looking and highly innovative Board of directors at CAL have already figured out an angle to benefit from the change in circumstances!

    • Just Commentin' says:

      Yeah. Of course they have a plan to gain advantage from US carriers flying into Cuba: They are going to resign and try to join one of the US airlines that will be serving Cuba (and who actually make a profit).

  4. Anonymous says:

    So building an airport longer and better will compete? Yeah I agree but cost of living will win the day.
    Cruise lines will park their huge ships by a dock and not tender cruise people. They will also not be left in the rain or sun to stand and be told they “Should be thankful”. Come on people no infrastructure? A cruise ship facility is a infrastructure and needed ASAP.

    • Anonymous says:

      Or stop chasing the cents made from the low end cattle tourists and focus on the high end stay over market. Let Cuba entertain the fly over state crowd.

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