American Airlines today issued the following statement on the United States and Cuba reaching an arrangement that will permit scheduled air service between the two countries for the first time in more than 50 years.
"Today's announcement is great news for our customers as it brings us one step closer to connecting the U.S. and Cuba with scheduled air service," said American's chairman and CEO Doug Parker. "As the leading carrier to the Caribbean and the leading U.S. airline to Cuba, we look forward to establishing scheduled service to Cuba in 2016, from Miami and other American hubs. We appreciate the Administration's efforts and the hard work of the U.S. negotiators to reach this arrangement."
Charter Service to Cuba
American has operated charter service to Cuba since 1991 with flights from Miami, Tampa and Los Angeles to five Cuban destinations: Camaguey (CMW), Cienfuegos (CFG), Havana (HAV), Holguin (HOG) and Santa Clara (SNU). American has been the leader in the U.S. to Cuba market for nearly 25 years. This year, American will operate approximately 1,200 charter flights to Cuba, more than any other U.S. carrier and a 9 percent increase from 2014.
On Dec. 12, American expanded its reach to Cuba with the launch of new charter service, offering customers travel options between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Jose Marti International Airport (HAV) in Havana, and providing the only nonstop service between the West Coast of the U.S. and Cuba.
As a result of today's announcement, American expects to submit a U.S.-Cuba service proposal to the U.S. Department of Transportation and hopes for timely approval of its proposal to enable American to introduce scheduled service as soon as possible in 2016.
While plans for commercial service are finalized, American will continue to operate flights to Cuba by collaborating with our valued charter partners. For more information on the charter flights and current restrictions on travel, please visit aa.com/visitcuba. Although scheduled service will begin next year, today's announcement does not affect travel restrictions currently in place for U.S. citizens.
American has served the Caribbean for nearly 45 years and is the leading U.S. airline in the region, operating more flights to more destinations than any other carrier. The airline operates up to 150 daily flights to 31 destinations in the Caribbean and in 2015 continued its expansion in the region with six new routes.
In June, American launched service from its Dallas/Fort Worth hub to Grand Cayman, and on Dec. 18 and Dec. 19 American will also begin service from Los Angeles to Montego Bay, from Charlotte to Curacao and Puerto Plata, from Dallas/Fort Worth to Punta Cana, and from Chicago O'Hare to Punta Cana. On Jan. 31, 2016, the airline is also slated to open its 32nd destination in the Caribbean and sixth in The Bahamas, San Salvador Island, with more to come soon.
About American Airlines Group
American Airlines Group (NASDAQ: AAL) is the holding company for American Airlines. Together with regional partners operating as American Eagle, American offers an average of nearly 6,700 flights per day to nearly 350 destinations in more than 50 countries. American is a founding member of the oneworld alliance, whose members and members-elect serve nearly 1,000 destinations with 14,250 daily flights to 150 countries. This year American Airlines Group Inc. topped Fortune Magazine's list of best business turnarounds and its stock joined the S&P 500 index. Connect with American on Twitter @AmericanAir and at Facebook.com/AmericanAirlines.