|Saxophone player in Havana, Cuba. // Photo by Joe Pike|
American Airlines and Cuba Travel Services plan to operate the first charter flights between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Jose Marti International Airport (HAV) in Havana later this year, providing travelers the only nonstop service connecting the West Coast to Cuba since travel restrictions were eased.
"American is the premier carrier in Los Angeles and throughout the Caribbean, and this new charter flight shows how we continue to expand our reach by offering new routes and services our customers want," said Art Torno, American's senior vice president – International and Cargo, in a written release. "We stand ready to offer scheduled service as soon as the United States and Cuba allow commercial flights."
American's new charter service between Los Angeles and Havana will be sold by Cuba Travel Services and will operate on Saturdays beginning December 12 with Boeing 737 aircraft. In addition, American will operate a Saturday flight between Miami International Airport and Havana, also sold by Cuba Travel Services.
"We are excited to expand our partnership with American to include flights from Los Angeles to Havana," said Michael Zuccato, general manager at Cuba Travel Services. "We will continue to deliver a high quality travel experience and opening up new West Coast access to Cuba will bring a convenient, affordable option to authorized travelers."
American has operated charter flights to Cuba since 1991. With these additions, American will offer 22 weekly flights from Miami, Tampa and Los Angeles to five destinations in the country: Camaguey, Cienfuegos, Havana, Holguin and Santa Clara. This year, American will operate roughly 1,200 charter flights to Cuba, more than any other airline.