Posted on: 01 September 2016 by Mark Howells
JetBlue has inaugurated its new route between Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) and Abel Santamaría Airport (SNU) in Cuba, becoming the first US airline to operate a commercial flight to the country in more than 50 years.
The first flight also marked the first time an American carrier has operated a scheduled commercial jetliner between the US and Cuba, as US airlines only flew propeller-powered aircraft to the Caribbean island before the embargo began.
“We are proud to be the first US airline to serve Cuba, but our focus is on being the best airline serving Cuba,” explained Robin Hayes, president and CEO, JetBlue. “This historic flight symbolises our long-term commitment to provide affordable, award-winning service between Cuba and the US. For the first time in decades, families separated by only a short stretch of water can easily and affordably visit a loved one, attend an important occasion or visit a special place – and the role we play speaks directly to our mission of inspiring humanity.
“We commend the incredible and tireless work of both US and Cuban officials for making today possible. We extend our deep appreciation to the Ministry of Transportation, IACC, and the Santa Clara Airport for entrusting us to operate this historic flight and look forward to our long-term partnership as we continue to grow our presence in Cuba. And in the US, we congratulate Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and the Department of Transportation, Secretary John Kerry and the Department of State, Secretary Penny Pritzker and the Department of Commerce, and the Obama Administration for their leadership in achieving this historic milestone,” Hayes concluded.
From 3 November 2016, JetBlue will also launch flights between FLL and Camagüey’s Ignacio Agramonte Airport (CMW), followed by a new Holguín–Frank País Airport (HOG) service from 10 November 2016. All JetBlue’s Cuba flights will be operated using the airline’s Airbus A320 aircraft.
JetBlue has tentative plans to serve the Cuban capital of Havana with daily flights between FLL, New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Orlando International Airport.