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The battle has begun for the scheduled flight slots between
the United States and Cuba, which resumes later this year for the first time in
decades, following a memorandum
of understanding the two nations signed in February.
Carriers large and small are vying for 110 daily round-trip
slots: 20 to Havana and 10 each to nine other Cuban airports. Some carriers aim
to fly this summer, and the U.S. Department of Transportation "intends to
reach a final decision in this matter as promptly as possible," according
to its invitation for applications.
Unsurprisingly, considering its Miami hub, American
Airlines' proposal is the largest filed so far, and JetBlue Airways'
application also requests more than half the available Havana slots. Both Delta
Air Lines and United Airlines had more modest proposals for Cuban service.
Because travel between the United States and Cuba remains
restricted to certain activities, including family visits, Florida-based
regional airline Silver Airways filed for several slots to connect Cuba to
smaller Florida airports that serve large Cuban populations like Palm Beach,
Fort Myers, Key West and Jacksonville. "Under current law and regulation,
the vast majority of travelers to Cuba will come from Florida," the
carrier said in its filing. "Traveling options for Florida communities
must be the prime consideration in assessing the public benefits in this
Other types of travel permitted between the United States
and Cuba include government business, educational activities, humanitarian
projects and professional meetings and research activities.
Here are the round-trips other carriers have asked for.
Delta Air Lines
Sun Country Airlines