Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Belly Cargo Air Mail Service to Havana Begins from US  

Cuban Market Continues to Open Up Despite Trump Reservations

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Shipping News Feature US – CUBA – After the Obama administration began the process of normalising relations between the US and Cuba, American Airlines (AA) is to begin belly cargo services to Cuba, claiming to become the first US passenger carrier to offer space for mail service, including correspondence, parcels and express mail, into and out of José Martí International Airport (HAV) in Havana, Cuba's capital city and leading commercial centre.

Following the thawing of relations, a status which has been under threat from the attitude of the incumbent President, the all-cargo airline services of FedEx became the first freight only air carrier to obtain permission to resume services to the capital of the Caribbean island country. Previously combination freight/passenger flights were agreed with several airlines, including AA, to nine other Cuban destinations.

Unlike Obama, who met with Cuban President Raúl Castro on the island after ending half a century of diplomatic isolation, Donald Trump announced a year ago he was restricting trade with the country, banning businesses said to have links with Cuban military or security agencies. These included hotels and even a couple of distilleries and the move was designed to starve the state targets of access to any US investment.

Havana is AA's principal destination from the US with one daily fight from Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) and four daily flights from Miami International Airport (MIA) scheduled to increase to five daily flights in October. The MIA flights are operated with Boeing 737-800 aircraft and the CLT flight is operated with the Airbus A319. David Vance, American's Vice President – Cargo Operations, said:

“As the leading US carrier to Cuba we are excited to launch cargo service to the island. Our teams on the ground in the US and in Cuba have worked hard to make this a reality. This new service will benefit families in both countries.”

American claims it is the leading US airline working in Cuba, with nine daily flights to five destinations in the country, including flights between MIA and HAV, Holguin (HOG), Santa Clara (SNU), Varadero (VRA) and Camagüey (CMW), and between CLT and HAV.

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