JetBlue Airways has decided to stand up to American Airlines (AA) and has submitted an application to increase its number of flights to Cuba which, if approved, would disrupt AA’s plans to operate 14 daily flights between Miami and Havana.
The Department of Transportation has set a limit of 20 daily round trips to Havana, which means that airlines must compete for available seats.
New York-based JetBlue has entered the fray by asking to operate a nonstop trip on Saturdays between Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Havana.
American Airlines, based in Fort Worth, submitted a request this August for the Department of Transportation to allow the route between Miami and Havana to be increased by two more daily flights, one morning and one evening.
But New York-based JetBlue has entered the fray by asking to operate a nonstop Saturday trip between Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Havana.
American maintains six daily flights to the Cuban capital since in July it received approval to fly daily to five other Cuban citieswhile JetBlue travels three times a day between Fort Lauderdale and Havana, except on Saturdays, when frequency limitations have forced airlines to operate only one way.
JetBlue is proposing that the additional Saturday flights begin operations in December using 162-seat Airbus A320 aircraft.
American argues in its request that the additional frequencies “would maximize benefits by increasing capacity at the gateway with the highest demand for travel between the US and Havana, while improving connectivity using American’s leading network in Miami.” “.
Meanwhile, JetBlue defends the approval of its request to encourage competition. “Under these circumstances, there is no public interest justification for awarding additional US frequencies while such a competitive imbalance exists,” JetBlue said in a letter addressed Aug. 22 to Department of Transportation.
“Of all the US airlines, JetBlue has the fewest options to offer low-cost flights between South Florida and Havana on Saturdays, one of the most important days for travel in the Caribbean,” argues JetBlue.
The company also considers that American Airline’s request is “obsolete and debatable”, due to the number of flights it already maintains with Cuba.
The company also considers that American Airline’s request is “obsolete and debatable” due to the number of flights it already maintains with Cuba.
JetBlue adds that if the Department of Transportation already said that AA had too many frequencies between Miami and Havana when it only operated four routes, it should consider it even more now that it not only has six and aspires to another two, but also has a license to fly to other cities. Cuban routes that would allow him to reorganize his routes.
From November, AA will have routes to Santa Clara, Varadero, Holguín, Camagüey and Santiago de Cuba.
The showdown between American and JetBlue comes as the two airlines are in the process of merging into an alliance called the Northeast Alliance, pending a federal court decision.
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