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Alaska Airlines Axes Havana Flights Starting January 2018

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Alaska Airlines Axes Havana Flights Starting January 2018

Alaska Airlines Axes Havana Flights Starting January 2018
November 15
12:46 2017

MIAMI – Alaska Airlines will cease its daily service between Los Angeles (LAX) and Havana, Cuba (HAV). The last flight has been set for January 22, 2018.

According to the airline, last week’s changes to the U.S. policy about flights to the island made this route unviable, considering that 80% of Alaska’s customers visited Havana under the educational program “people-to-people.”

In early November, The Donald Trump administration announced some restrictions to travel to Cuba. Even though flying to the Island is not banned per se, the new regulations affect organized tour groups, putting an end to the individual travel happening under educational matters like the “people-to-people” exchanges opened up under the Obama administration.

“We knew this was a real risk going in. We knew it was a very fluid environment,” said John Kirby, the carrier’s Vice President of Capacity Planning. “When traffic is embargoed for over 50 years, there’s not a lot of data to go with.”

Andrew Harrison, Chief Commercial Officer of Alaska Airlines said the carrier evaluates every route to “ensure” they have “the right number of seats to match the number of people who want to go there.”

Photo: Alaska Air

As a result, the resources used to serve Havana will be re-deployed on markets that have higher demand already served by Alaska. The airline has set its 2018 goal to see an 8% increase in network growth by adding capacity to primarily existing markets. Alaska plans to accomplish this plan by redeploying aircraft and crews.

Kirby said Alaska initially will use the Boeing 737-900(ER) that operated the Havana route to add an eighth daily service between Seattle and Orange County, California.

Harrison also remarked how honored Alaska Airlines is “to have played a role in helping people make personal connections by traveling between the U.S. and Cuba” with a route that lasted just a year, starting on January 5, 2017.

READ MORE: Alaska Airlines Launches Flights to Havana, Cuba

Lastly, Alaska Airlines customers who have flights booked to Havana after January 22, 2018, will be rebooked on another airline at no additional cost or, if preferred, they will be offered a full refund.

The Seattle-based carrier is not the only airline to drop their Cuba flights. American Airlines announced in November 2016 that it would reduce its number of flights, just before Alaska Airlines started operating. Also Silver Air, Spirit Airlines, and Frontier suspended their flights.

READ MORE: Spirit Airlines Pulls Out of Cuba
READ MORE: Weak Demand Prompts Two US Airlines to Cancel Cuba Service

Alaska has launched 44 routes in 2017, anticipating the goal of growing a 7.2% this year. With its partners, the carrier already flies 40 million customers a year to more than 115 destinations across the United States and to Mexico, Canada, and Costa Rica.

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Alvaro Sanchez

Alvaro Sanchez

Online Executive Editor. Journalist and Certified Radio Host. Studying for a Specialization in Public Opinion and Political Communications. Even though I love politics I've found myself fascinated by the Aviation World. I'm also passionate by economy, strategic communications, my family, my country, and dogs. mc@airwaysmag.com

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