Boeing 737 Crashes After Takeoff From Havana, Cuba

Filed Under: Other Airlines

It’s being reported by Cuba’s state-run television that a 737 crashed shortly after takeoff from Havana today, at around 12:30PM local time.

The plane was apparently bound for Holguín, in Eastern Cuba, which suggests to me that this was flight CU972. The Mirror reports that the plane was carrying 107 passengers, and all reports suggest that there were casualties, though exact numbers haven’t yet been revealed. The pictures don’t look good, sadly.

I’m seeing media reports suggesting that this was a Cubana 737, though Cubana doesn’t operate any 737s themselves (they only have two turboprops and four IL-96s). Instead it would appear that this was a 39 year old Global Air 737-200, with the registration code XA-UMZ. Global Air is a Mexican charter company that has a fleet of three 737s, and at least one of them was being leased to Cubana.

Cuban state media makes a point of saying that this was a “foreign crew,” which suggests to me that this was a full wet lease (meaning that a Global Air crew was operating the flight on behalf of Cubana):

“Sources of the Ministry of Transport indicate that with a foreign crew the ship was heading from Havana to Holguín with 104 passengers.”

My thoughts and prayers are with those onboard and their families. This isn’t a great year for aviation safety so far. Last year we didn’t see a single fatal commercial jet crash, while this year we’ve seen at least four airliners crash, including two jets and two turboprops.

I’ll update this post as we learn more.

(Featured image courtesy of aeroprints.com)

Comments
  1. All of Cubana’s fleet is grounded. They are leasing ATR’s, A320’s and 737’s. It is a sad day.

  2. Cubana also has some Antonovs 158, flew one of them last month Santiago de Cuba – Havana, with Cuban ID markings (CU-T1716). So, it seems that the info on their fleet is outdated.
    May the lord have mercy on victims, survivors and their loved ones.

  3. The tweet you shared says
    Accidente aéreo ocurrió con un Blue Panorama ARRENDADO POR Cubana de Aviación.
    which means that the plane was leased.

  4. Italian media are saying the plane is not from Blue Panorama. Possibly a Mexican company.

  5. Now they are saying it is a 737-200 leased from Mexican charter company Global Air, registration XA-UMQ

  6. I figured it was a wet lease or something, Id figure there are some restrictions on cuban airlines purchasing boeing/airbus planes

  7. Blue Panorama said that it wasn’t their 737. The plane appears to belong to Global Air, a Mexican company.

  8. You are wrong the olane was a Boeing 737-500 leased from the Mexican company Global Air. It wasn’t from Blue Panorama

  9. the BBC and other media outlets are saying that the aircraft is leased from the mexican carrier global air which has an active fleet of 2 737-200 plus 3 more parked

  10. Since there is doubt – perhaps removing the picture of an airliner that may or may not belong to the company that crashed is the thing to do right now.

  11. If OMAAT is going to report on airline accidents instead of miles and points it needs to closely follow the developments on the story. The airplane depicted is not the airplane or operator involved.

  12. Good Job on misidentifying the plane through your process of elimination.

    ‘Massimiliano Alessi – Blue Panorama Safety Manager on Friday, May 18th 2018 18:54Z
    Dear Simon, please correct the tread because Blue Panorama Operation Control Center confirms it is not a Blue Panorama Aircraft involved in subject accident.

    I repeat. IT IS NOT A BLUE PANORAMA AIRCRAFT.’

    Look at the paint job of the vertical stabilizer in the accident pictures. It does not match blue panorama aircraft both in paint and in construction(you can tell by the hinges) It’s a Global Air Mexico plane.

    Insensitive.

  13. Lucky, quick, take off the Blue Panorama plane. Why not put up a Cubana plane? That would be better.

  14. This was not Blue Panorama. It appears it is a leased airplane from Global Air in Mexico.

  15. I visited Cuba in February, a country that had been at the top of my travel bucket list for a few years. My heart goes out to the Cubans who have lost friends and family. They are such beautiful people.

  16. Sad day. Cubana leases A320 aircraft for their Toronto to Havana route. See holasunholidays.ca

  17. Who cares if it Blue Panorama, Global Air or Cubana? It was a 30 year old plane operating a country where aircraft maintenance standards may be very questionable. Feel sorry for people who might not have a better choice when in need to fly.

  18. Reuters reports that the 737 was delivered in 1979 – 39 years old. That said, maintenance is everything – that and good piloting skills. Sad day for the victims, their loved ones, Cuba and aviation.

  19. @ Michal MS
    Cubana does not operate AN 158s anymore: They used to have 5 and had 3 grounded due to maintenance issues and cannibalized parts. Apparently, they do not pay their bills and Antonov has pulled the plug on them. Also the split between Russia and Ukraine where Antonovs are built, has taken its toll as Ukraine feels no need to keep supplying parts and maintenance free of charge. This is not the Soviet Union anymore.

    As always, the Cubans have twisted the story to get out of an embarrassing situation and have recently withdrawn the Antonov 158 certificate of navigability, alleging “grave technical concerns” about the plane’s safety (??!!)

  20. @Pierre
    Well, then this must have happened in the past few weeks, I still flew one on April 15th.

  21. interesting enough, this website became a aviation news portal and almost ever news story involve an aviation incident has been reported here. I say almost because there was one exception , the recent incident of Sichuan Airlines. I would argue this is the most dramatic one after the landing on hudson, but no mentioning here at all.

    Not trying to imply anything, just saying…

  22. The death of these 104 people should be chalked upto the Tump adminstration. Obama had lifted the embargo and Cubana was planning to buy new planes but Trump reimposed it so Cubana is faced with either using old planes or wet leasing from shady companies as no good leasing company wants to run afoul of US sanctions.

  23. I have read and heard elsewhere that this particular aircraft had been BANNED from most of the airports in South and Central America due to poor maintenance by the owning lease company; As a matter of fact about the ONLY place it was permitted to fly WAS in Cuba. The leasing company also does NOT have a good reputation. I seem to recall also that there had been an extremely LONG gap between maintenance procedures that are required of American and MOST foreign airlines.

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