American Airlines Launches Commercial Service Between US, Cuba
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One week after JetBlue became the first U.S. airline to launch regular commercial service to Cuba in more than half of a century, American Airlines officially became the second U.S. carrier to operate a a commercial flight between the U.S. and the Caribbean island nation.
According to the Dallas Morning News, American Airlines flight 903 was scheduled to land in Cienfuegos, Cuba, shortly before noon local time Wednesday.
Now that American has arrived in Cuba, the next step is for it to expand its presence. By the end of the week, the Fort Worth, Texas-based airline will operate eight daily flights from Miami to five Cuban cities.
Later this year, American will look to launch another five daily flights to Havana from Miami and Charlotte.
While other U.S. carriers are poised to join JetBlue and American, the two are the first to enter Cuba because of their impressive charter experience. After all, American operated more than 1,080 charter flights to Cuba last year alone, per the Morning News.
READ MORE: DOT Doles Out Havana Routes For US Carriers
Although still very early, the new market's potential to pay off for American and its competition is undeniable.
"It has the potential to be another major destination...We want to make sure our footprint in Cuba is well established," American's senior vice president Art Torno told the Morning News.
"When you look at what Cuba has to offer, you could take all the Caribbean islands and put them together and Cuba is larger," Torno added. "It is virtually untouched because of lack of established industry. The beaches and the country itself are very pristine."
Despite Cuba's potential, the influx of commercial flights from the U.S. could lead seats to outpace demand early on with nearly 300 weekly flights to the island by U.S. airlines having been approved.
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