The cancellation of charter flights from the United States to Cuba, except for the Havana airport, comes into effect as of this Tuesday, according to a resolution announced in January by the State Department.
The measure completely eliminates direct flights between the United States and nine airports on the island, already affected since December 10 by the suspension of commercial flights that forced companies such as American Airline, Delta and JetBlue to suspend those itineraries.
Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez reacted to the U.S. government’s ban on the grounds that it “severely damages Cuban families and their ties.” He said this through a publication on his official Twitter account.
The Cuban foreign minister wrote that the measure of the Donald Trump government against the island “violates the human rights of Cubans and the freedom to travel of the Americans.”
La prohibición de vuelos chárter a #Cuba, excepto a #LaHabana, a partir de este 10 de marzo, daña duramente a las familias cubanas y sus vínculos. Viola los #DerechosHumanos de los cubanos y la libertad de viaje de los estadounidenses.
— Bruno Rodríguez P (@BrunoRguezP) March 10, 2020
For his part, the director of the Frank País International Airport, Miguel Peña, declared that 14 weekly charter flights from the Swiftair airline, with more than 1,460 passengers, arrived at that terminal, located in the province of Holguín province, reported Prensa Latina news agency.
Peña regretted that as of the entry into force of the resolution, passengers are forced to fly to Havana and travel a route of around 730 kilometers to reach that destination, or, otherwise, travel through third countries.
The director of the Holguin airport explained that some U.S. charter companies have created variants to connect Cuba’s center and east with the United States, such as routes with stopovers in Nassau, capital of the Bahamas.
The planes of the Bahamas national airline, Bahamasair, will arrive at Santa Clara’s Abel Santamaría airport on March 17, and two days later at Frank País, in Holguin. Those new routes will maintain two weekly frequencies, Peña said, quoted by Prensa Latina.
The regulation issued by the Trump administration would limit charter flights to Havana to 3,600 during its first year of implementation.
Given the measure, several companies that operate with this type of flights asked the U.S. Department of Transportation for a greater number of flights to the island.