Airways Magazine

JetBlue CEO Meets With Cuban Officials

 Breaking News

JetBlue CEO Meets With Cuban Officials

JetBlue CEO Meets With Cuban Officials
April 20
20:02 2015

MIAMI — On Monday, JetBlue’s President and CEO, Robin Hayes, was joined by many private sector and political leaders from New York on the “I Heart Blue York” logo jet for a special state trade mission flight to Havana, Cuba to discuss economic and political relations.

This trip marked the first time that a current U.S. governor has visited Cuba since the recent thawing of relations began earlier this year.

A JetBlue spokesperson said in a statement to Airways that “As New York’s hometown airline, we are pleased to participate in the nation’s first state trade mission to Cuba since the President began the process to normalize diplomatic relations, and we applaud the Governor’s effort to develop opportunities for New York companies there.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes enter “I Heart Blue York” (Credits: Andrew Cuomo)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes enter “I Heart Blue York” (Credits: Andrew Cuomo)

JetBlue is one of six U.S. airlines with rights to operate special charter flights to Cuba. It flew its first charter flight to Havana from Ft. Lauderdale on September 17th, 2011 with additional frequencies added over the years. Currently, it also serves Havana and Santa Clara, Cuba from Tampa Bay, and it continues to fly between Ft. Lauderdale and Havana.

Once it is permitted for airlines to operate regularly scheduled air service between the two countries, the airline has big plans for the Cuba market, but it would not disclose its exact plans. However, the spokesperson did explain that “Cuba will one day play an important role in our overall Caribbean network, where we are the leading U.S. airline. Our focus cities in New York and Florida are natural gateways to Havana and other Cuban destinations from many of our existing cities. We have already built valuable experience operating in Cuba since 2011 with our successful charter program, and are interested in providing scheduled service from multiple U.S. cities as soon as legally permitted.”

By participating in the state trade mission, there could be many advantages for JetBlue; it could give Jetblue a jumpstart on negotiations with airport officials in Cuba when it comes to slots and real estate once it becomes legal to operate regularly scheduled service, despite the potential heavy government regulations that many analysts expect.

It is also worthwhile to note that JetBlue hinted that it is interested in offering service to multiple destinations throughout Cuba. In addition to Havana, the airline could start flights to:

  • Abel Santamaría Airport serving Santa Clara, Juan
  • Gualberto Gómez Airport serving the Matanzas province
  • Frank País Airport serving the city of Holguín
  • Jardines del Rey Airport serving the Ciego de Ávila Province
  • Ignacio Agramonte International Airport serving Camagüey Province
  • Antonio Maceo Airport serving Santiago.

All of the airports listed above currently receive regularly scheduled or seasonal service from airlines serving Canada and Europe.

The United States and Cuba market will be extremely competitive that could be filled with an incredible amount of untapped potential. With the visit of JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes, JetBlue is positioning itself to spearhead efforts to legalize flights between to Cuba in the coming year(s). What is exactly being discussed in these meetings we will never know. But we can reasonably say that JetBlue will be ready for the day that flights to Cuba are legalized and that JetBlue will position itself for a large chunk of the US-Cuba market.

Comments
0

About Author

Benjamin Bearup

Benjamin Bearup

Aviation journalist from Atlanta, Georgia. Business student at the University of Georgia with a passion for aviation business management. ben@airwaysmag.com @TheAviationBeat

Related Articles

Current Issue

Cart

Subscribe to our weekly Newsletter

Polls

Would you feel safe flying on a Boeing 737 MAX once the grounding is lifted?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

@airwaysmagazine

Airways YouTube Channel

Polls

Would you feel safe flying on a Boeing 737 MAX once the grounding is lifted?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
0