By Rich Thomaselli
Does JetBlue Airways know something we don’t?
The New York-based airline today announced the addition of a second charter flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York to Havana, Cuba, with an eye on the time when commercial flights to the island will be approved after the Obama administration restored diplomatic relations with Cuba earlier this year.
JetBlue pairs with Cuba Travel Services to offer the charters. The expansion of the JetBlue-CTS schedule comes shortly after the U.S. further eased restrictions by allowing approved travelers to Cuba to travel with close relatives.
The roundtrip charter flight between JFK and Havana’s José Martí International Airport (HAV) will operate every Tuesday beginning Dec.1, 2015. The existing JetBlue-CTS flight operates every Friday.
“Even as the world anticipates what future air travel to Cuba will look like, we recognize that many Americans need to travel there today,” Scott Laurence, senior vice president, airline planning at JetBlue, said in a statement. “We want JetBlue to be the favorite airline for travel to Cuba — more frequencies with our charter partners and our unmatched onboard experience position us perfectly to be the airline of choice.”
JetBlue is the only major airline operating charter flights from New York to Havana.
“Cuba Travel Services is excited for all the positive changes allowing more Americans to visit Cuba. We are offering more flexibility to our travelers with this second rotation and introducing our new online booking engine at www.CubaTravelServices.com, which will allow passengers to reserve and purchase their tickets in real time,” said Michael Zuccato, general manager at Cuba Travel Services.
“Our partnership with JetBlue will facilitate the high-quality travel experience our clients have grown accustomed to.”
Through its charter partners, JetBlue flies to Havana and Santa Clara from New York, Ft. Lauderdale, and Tampa. All flights are operated on 150-seat Airbus A320 aircraft with JetBlue crewmembers and the same JetBlue experience as scheduled service.
The airline said that “When scheduled service is allowed, Cuba will play an important role in JetBlue’s network in the Latin America and the Caribbean.”
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