US Bans Flights To All Cuban Airports Except Havana

Filed Under: Travel

Under the Trump administration we’ve seen increased restrictions on travel to Cuba. Well, the US Department of Transportation has just issued a notice that adds yet another major restriction.

US airlines are now banned from operating scheduled flights to any destination in Cuba other than Havana. This new restriction is in place for flights as of December 10, 2019, which is 45 days from today, and will remain in effect until further notice.

The Department of Transportation notes that they’re making this decision at the request of the US Department of State. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote a letter to the DOT making the following request:

To further the Administration’s policy of strengthening the economic consequences to the Cuban regime for its ongoing repression of the Cuban people and its support for Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, in the foreign policy interests of the United States, I respectfully request that the Department of Transportation suspend until further notice all scheduled US carrier flights between the United States and all airports in Cuba, except Jose Marti International Airport (HAV) in Havana.

While this technically prohibits US airlines from flying to any of the nine airports in Cuba other than Havana, in reality US airlines have only flown to five other airports.

American Airlines is by far the biggest US carrier to Cuba, and they also operate the most flights to non-Havana airports, though JetBlue has some flights as well.

With this change, we can expect the following eight routes to be canceled:

  • Camagüey — American flies from Miami, JetBlue flies from Fort Lauderdale
  • Holguín — American flies from Miami, JetBlue flies from Fort Lauderdale
  • Santa Clara — American flies from Miami, JetBlue flies from Fort Lauderdale
  • Santiago — American flies from Miami
  • Varadero — American flies from Miami

Bottom Line

I’m not sure I fully understand the logic of how this policy change is being implemented. I understand the political decision to send a message to Cuba, but why specifically target non-Havana flights? Why not ban all non-charter flights to Cuba? Why not cut the number of available slots to Havana in half? This just seems like an odd way to go about it.

Furthermore, why make this decision now? Cuba repressing people and supporting Maduro in Venezuela is nothing new…

Comments
  1. “This just seems like an odd way to go about it…”

    Just another example of the administration making things up as they go along.

    Besides “why this”, I wonder “why now?” The “ongoing repression of the Cuban people” hasn’t gotten worse recently (unless I missed something, I have enough problems trying to catch up with the tragicomedy that is Brexit), so what’s the rationale, other than just undoing something Obama did? (And as Ben said, if that’s the case why not cut the scheduled flights to Havana too?)

  2. Why now? Probably worried about the Senate votes in the imminent impeachment trial. This move likely buys off Marco Rubio.

  3. You understand the political decision? You must be some political savant so please explain it me. Sorry are you still on your Turkish airways flight? Hopefully they have WiFi.

    It is utterly stupid to make such a comment while you indulge in emirates, Qatar, Turkish airways.

    If you meant to say I understand the political decisions due to an utterly reckless, discombobulated and plain stupid administration then you should have said so.

  4. What a joke. 60 yrs after the failed invasion/occupation still an embargo. Anyway no issue. Plenty of airlines flying to Cuba and nobody sane would even think about flying AA or flying through MIA.
    Cuba is booming with tourists from Europe, Asia, Canada and South America.
    I visited recently and found it thoroughly enjoyable. The total lack of on-street advertising gave it a very clean and unspoiled feel. Very safe as well.

  5. Please don’t even mention Trump. Just hearing his name makes me physically ill, even violently ill, and a little deranged. Some call it a syndrome. TDS is an invasive disease with no known cure. Don’t spread the germs Lucky.

  6. Cuba is no longer trending. Millennials rushed there a few years ago to post on Instagram and Facebook. The opening scene of Fate of the Furious was filmed in Havana.

  7. The so-called “Land of the free” strikes again. You can only be free if it’s our version of “free” or if you have oil or some other thing that can be useful to us.
    Regards, USA

  8. Dennis – I 100% oppose the sanctions regime against Cuba and always have. To imply that Cubans are in any way “free” however goes beyond ignorant…

  9. it’s like a school bully picking on small kid because the big ones fight back eg Russia. And folks the Russians are now in Cuba again concluding contracts including nuclear power stations.
    Trump working for Putin again.

  10. Cuba is an enemy of the United States of America. They are an enemy of the American people. They stole American property without compensation. How would you like it if someone took your house? The Cuban government is not nice. No tears for this change but it may inconvenience some travelers.

  11. @Callum, by your logic, then why doesn’t the US place sanctions and restrict flights to places like China and Saudi Arabia? Ah that’s right…. oil and money!

  12. The logic is to target VFR which hurts Cuba the most. American tourists all go to Havana, and this is least disruptive to them. The bulk of traffic to these other points is VFR. It impacts Cubans with the least possible impact on Americans.

  13. The dotard in chief wants to ban all
    opposition, suppress any negative reporting against him, restrict travel

  14. Just curious, is one allowed to connect to FLL/MIA-HAV flights from elsewhere, when flying in to the US from the free world?

  15. @ Peter

    Save yourself the massive pain of connecting through any US airport. Fly in from or connect in any other country but do NOT transit through a US airport. They haven’t figured out yet how to handle transits and it’s going to cost you about half a day, not to mention the rudeness you will encounter.

  16. Mitch cumstein….. Thst attitude is what put Trump in the white house. Keep it up and you get 4 more years.

    Why always Cuba… Because it’s easier to keep status quo than chsnge

  17. @ Ron… Dumbest post on the thread. That European bias shows how dumb youbare. Maybe someone in the closest 300 million person country would connect in Mia or FLL…. Maybe it’s time you Europeans pay the USA reparations

  18. @bobmcbiber the US still has many wonderful things to offer , ( despite having an illiterate uncultured troglodyte in the White House ) however when travelling from most of the world to the Caribbean Latin America or Oceania it’s best to avoid the US since there’s no transit
    With regards to Cuba, there are numerous direct flights from Europe

  19. @Bobmcbiber

    Thanks for reading my contributions carefully. I take it you are American in which case you will have no direct knowledge about ‘transiting’ (or lack thereof given the fact that transit facilities have not yet been built) through US airports.

  20. “I’m not sure I fully understand the logic of how this policy change is being implemented”

    – said every logical voter about Trump

  21. Have to just laugh at some of these totally nonsensical TDS comments here. Case in point that DJT is “illiterate” (sic). I don’t know if that person understands the definition of illiterate, but it’s this: “having little or no education; especially unable to read or write”.

    Let’s see, he has written several best selling books. Maybe you’ve heard of The Art of The Deal?
    Then there’s at least half a dozen Twitter posts a day. Not to mention the degree in Economics from the very prestigious Wharton School. Pretty sure you have to be able to read and write to graduate from there.

    So sure, someone can disagree with someone else’s politics, but calling them illiterate just makes no sense at all. Then again, most people with TDS frequently make no sense at all, so maybe that’s a side effect of the disease.

  22. If you really want to criticize the POTUS, why not discuss actual issues. For instance you could say:

    I am opposed to having the US stock market at all time highs. I don’t like having the lowest US unemployment rate in over 50 years. I don’t like that the unemployment rate of all minority groups is at historical lows. I don’t like that the US is now energy independent. I don’t like that we have enough excess oil and gas to export it, cutting into the profits of dictators in Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. I don’t like that the average US family is now making @$5000 a year more than they did under Obama. I don’t like that DJT has gotten North Korea to stop testing nuclear weapons and intercontinental missiles. Obama said that US manufacturing jobs were “never coming back”, and in just the 2 1/2 years DJT has been in office those jobs are in fact already coming back, and that’s being rude to Obama.

    See how easy that is? No need to spout silly nonsense like “illiterate” when you can document the reasons for your “resistance”. 😉

  23. @Robert Hanson

    Trump’s books were actually ghostwritten, so it’s disingenuous to use those to support a claim that he is literate.

    Sure trump can write in 140-word busts, but I wouldn’t judge someone’s literacy based on twitter.

  24. If you think this is all Trumps fault you’re unbelievably stupid. This was the Department of States doing.

  25. @Robert Hanson – if you believe Trump actually wrote any of “his” books, I have a wide portfolio of bridges for you to choose from as an investment.

    @Will – do you really think Mike Pompeo or some underling at State decided “hey, let’s make a major change in travel policy to Cuba…and not tell Trump before we do it!”? Occasionally a cabinet department will announce a policy and catch the White House by surprise (like when DeVos wanted to cut off funding for the Special Olympics), but those gaffes are extremely rare in foreign policy.

  26. @CraigTPA

    Do you really think DJT had someone pretend to be him, and attend 4 years of college at the Wharton School, taking all his tests, writing all of his papers, etc? Almost as improbable, do you think the White House has a team of folks standing by day and night to post tweets for DJT, since he is illiterate and couldn’t possibly do it himself.

    @Dan Again, you apparently don’t understand something as simple as the meaning of “literacy”, which means the ability to read and write. Nothing in the definition of literate involves writing more than 140 words at a time. And some of those tweets are quite clever. Especially the ones that are basically him trolling his detractors, and thereby driving them to distraction. 😉

    I notice no one has responded to this:

    I am opposed to having the US stock market at all time highs. I don’t like having the lowest US unemployment rate in over 50 years. I don’t like that the unemployment rate of all minority groups is at historical lows. I don’t like that the US is now energy independent. I don’t like that we have enough excess oil and gas to export it, cutting into the profits of dictators in Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. I don’t like that the average US family is now making @$5000 a year more than they did under Obama. I don’t like that DJT has gotten North Korea to stop testing nuclear weapons and intercontinental missiles. Obama said that US manufacturing jobs were “never coming back”, and in just the 2 1/2 years DJT has been in office those jobs are in fact already coming back, and that’s being rude to Obama.

    What do you have to be smoking to want to “resist” that?

  27. Well looks like Alexandria Occasionally Coherent is limited to flying into Havana when she wants visit her favorite country! MAGA!

  28. @robert Hanson since you “don’t like” so much… why don’t you GO else ware….best Read the latest “Coal Jobs Report“ those promised ‘jobs’ are Never coming Back…Sadly…you sound More like a Political Shill…

  29. Not to worry. There’s only a bit more than a year left in trump experiment. Perhaps then we can get back to a more fact based political discussion rather than the twitterings of an incompetent fool.

  30. @Article — “Furthermore, why make this decision now? Cuba repressing people and supporting Maduro in Venezuela is nothing new…” —

    Yes, but in the past, we didn’t have a fellow Communist dictator in Venezuela that refuses to step aside once he become illegitimate in office, and holds on to his power only because of support from Cuba, Russia, and China! Western nations are siding with opposition leader Guaido, and there have been various measures taken to put more pressure on Cuba for its stubborn support of Maduro! Cuba even contributed some military personnel to help prop up Maduro, while Venezuela descended into 7734 economically and financially, thus creating a truly unnecessary human crisis and tragedy over there!

    I am, however, also confused as to why Havanna should remain the only destination still allowed for flights from/to USA … why not just shut them all down? Or is this a “convenient” cover for AA and B6 to back out of serving those other destinations that ended up being insufficiently or not-at-all profitable?

    As for all of those who love to bash Trump for this, that, or anything/everything else — your contentions are based too much on ad hominem attacks and too little on factual substance — I thought this is supposed to be a Travel Forum and not an anti-Trump political boxing ring?

  31. Honestly so stupid that we are worried now because we can’t fly directly to Santa Clara, Cuba or one of the other 4 cities. My heart bleeds for all those that are shedding tears. Fly to Havana and take a bus.

  32. Hark! I do believe we have been graced by the likes of an honest to goodness, dyed in the wool , Trump supporter!
    Lucky us!
    With any luck whatsoever he will go back to sleep.

  33. Stop looking for logic. Trump and the US bully Cuba because Cuba cant do anything about it. Countries like china, russia, saudi arabia and others repress people just as much if not more only they are too big for the US to pull this crap. Its nonsensical telling Americans where they can and can not fly to, unless its an active combat area.

  34. If Congress has not declared war on a country, then the state has no right to tell us we can’t travel to that country. How hard is that to understand.

  35. @Dan — “If Congress has not declared war on a country, then the state has no right to tell us we can’t travel to that country.” —

    Uh … No! Your statement is totally fallacious in the real world! There’s such a thing as Foreign Policy that does not need to undergo any “Declarations of War” in order to get effected!

  36. Funny that back and forth bickering aka lots of hits on site puts good penny into Lucky’s pocket. Genius. About 80% of comments about Trump as a person and has nothing to do with travel.

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