Icelandic flag carrier Icelandair has obtained permission to extend its flights programme between the US and Cuba. A number of US charter airlines argue this request, saying Icelandair abuses the seventh freedom of the air. Despite this the US Department of Transportation granted another 170 slots for Icelandair, allowing flights between Maimi and Havana. These flights will be performed in terms of a limited public pool of possible air connections between the US and Cuba.
Icelandair Communications Manager Guðni Sigurðsson told Flugblogg, Icelandair has started flying between Orlando (ICAO: KMCO) and Havana (ICAO: MUHA) in October-December 2021 and performed 13 flights. “The flights are operated on 757s, in connection with flights from Iceland to Orlando. This way, the flight to Cuba takes place when the airplane would have been in a layover in Orlando, which contributes to better utilization of aircraft, and generates important revenue for the Company”, said Sigurðsson.
According to him, the flights from Miami and Houston to Havana will be added in February 2022. With the start of the Miami operation in February, Icelandair will have a dedicated aircraft for these flights. The total number of flights per week will be up to 10.
The decision published by the US Department of Transportation reveals, Icelandair also has pending applications proposing to operate 102 round-trip charters to points outside of Cuba during the same four-month period of the year 2022. All flights are supposed to be performed from Miami and connect the US with Ecuador (Quito, ICAO: SEQM; Guayaquil, ICAO: SEGU) and Dominican Republic (Punta Cana, ICAO: MDPC).