domingo, 25 de noviembre de 2012

Lauderdale-to-Cuba charter flights coming to an end

Lauderdale-to-Cuba charter flights coming to an end

November 24, 2012|By Doreen Hemlock, Staff writer

Charter flights from Fort Lauderdale to Cuba, launched with much fanfare

last year, are being stopped.

Airline Brokers Co., the charter operator offering the Lauderdale

service, said Cuba's government suspended its landing rights effective

Nov. 27. That means a halt to its charters from Miami too.

C&T Charters also has had its landing rights suspended, affecting its

flights from Miami and other U.S. gateways to the Caribbean island, C &

T representatives confirmed.

Other charter companies still operate to the communist-led nation, but

none from Fort Lauderdale.

In a letter on its website, Airline Brokers' aid its suspension came

after Havana "evaluated capacity in the U.S.-Cuba charter market and

certain other issues." It did not specify those other issues.

Travel experts had raised questions about possible over-capacity in

charters to Cuba. Some offerings to Cuba from Washington, D.C. and

Puerto Rico have been delayed or halted this year because of

insufficient demand.

Airline Brokers said it is trying to shift passengers with reservations

on its flights to other charters still flying Cuba routes. If new

arrangements cannot be made, the company offers full refunds.

Airline Brokers, C&T and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport

could not be reached for further comment Friday.

In business since 1982, Airline Brokers launched Lauderdale-Cuba

charters in September last year using JetBlue Airways planes. The

company started with one flight a week to Havana, and in April, added a

second plus a new service to Cienfuegos on the island's south coast. It

trimmed Miami service to adjust for Lauderdale flights, trying not to

saturate the market, President Vivian Mannerud has said.

U.S-Cuba charters serve mainly Cuban-American travelers but also have

aimed to carry other U.S. travelers on authorized "people-to-people"

exchange trips. Yet U.S. Treasury officials have approved few exchange


Charter traffic spiked in 2010 after the Obama administration allowed

Cuban-Americans visit the island as often as they wish. But growth has

slowed since then. Miami International Airport, the main U.S. gateway to

Cuba, reported only a 5 percent increase to 335,335 charter passengers

to Cuba last year.

Charter operators derive revenues from passenger tickets payments for

extra luggage and freight hauled down to the island. But income from

cargo has slumped since September.

That's because Havana slapped new duties on goods carried by passengers

and bought largely in South Florida stores. Experts say cash-strapped

Cuba aims to shift purchases to government-owned shops on the island.

U.S. citizens are restricted from traveling to Cuba under the

50-year-old U.S trade embargo against the island, which aims to limit

dollars to the communist government long led by brothers Fidel and Raul


Charter flights from Fort Lauderdale to Cuba halted - Sun Sentinel -

No hay comentarios:

Publicar un comentario