Southwest Airlines Winds Back Cuba Schedule
Southwest Airlines has joined the list of airlines that will trim commercial service to Cuba after the Trump government reintroduced restrictions on travel to the country.
Southwest will end flights to Varadero and Santa Clara from September 4th this year, leaving Havana as the only Cuban destination the airline will serve.
The low cost carrier currently operates three daily services to Havana, two from Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport, and one from Tampa. Southwest said it will apply to the Department of Transportation for a third daily flight from Ft. Lauderdale to Havana.
“Access to Cuba remains important to our South Florida Customers,” Southwest SVP Steve Goldberg said. “Our decision to discontinue the other Cuba flights comes after an in-depth analysis of our performance over several months which confirmed that there is not a clear path to sustainability serving these markets, particularly with the continuing prohibition in US law on tourism to Cuba for American citizens.”
The prospect of increased travel to Cuba from the US improved after American and Cuban officials signed a memorandum to restore scheduled air service last February.
In June of that year, DOT approved applications by six US airlines to fly to some Cuban cities. Flights launched later in the year to much fanfare, but airlines have gradually pulled back service as the commercial reality set in. The recent decision by the US government to rescind some of the Obama administration’s loosening of restrictions has reduced the attraction to US carriers of serving Cuba.