The FINANCIAL — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo joined with JetBlue Airways, New York’s Hometown Airline, and its charter partner, Cuba Travel Services, on May 5 to announce a new flight from New York to Havana, Cuba. The milestone makes JetBlue the first major carrier to announce a new flight to Cuba from New York since travel restrictions were recently eased.
The expanded charter service comes on the heels of Governor Cuomo’s trade mission to Cuba, where the Governor, joined by JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes and other New York business leaders, led a dialogue to connect New York businesses to new opportunities in Cuba, according to JetBlue Airways.
“Our Global NY initiative and our trade mission to Cuba is all about opening the door to new economic opportunities, and JetBlue’s exciting announcement today is proof that our approach is delivering results for New York businesses,” Governor Cuomo said. “By leading one of the first state trade missions to Cuba as the United States reestablishes diplomatic relations, we placed New York State businesses at the front of the line for new prospects in Cuba, that will in turn support jobs and economic activity here at home. I commend JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes for his leadership in making JetBlue the first major carrier to announce a direct flight from New York to Cuba in this new era between our nations.”
Cuba Travel Services is offering the flight, operated by JetBlue, on Fridays from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Havana’s José Martí International Airport (HAV) beginning July 3, 2015.
Cuba Travel Services, a leading authorized carrier service provider, believes expanding its flight network will provide licensed travelers more travel options for a lower cost. The additional service offers customers additional options to travel to Cuba from New York without connection delays or extra domestic travel expenses to connect in Florida.
“We appreciate Governor Cuomo’s commitment to leading a discussion about the role New Yorkers can play in Cuba,” said Robin Hayes, president and chief executive officer, JetBlue. “The Governor’s trade mission is helping position JetBlue as the leading carrier to Cuba. In teaming with an experienced charter partner like Cuba Travel Services, our first flight from JFK to Cuba brings JetBlue’s award-winning experience to Cuba-bound customers and offers new direct travel options from New York, where many Cubans live today.”
The New York metropolitan area has the second largest Cuban-American population in the United States after Florida.
JetBlue serves all charter flights to Cuba on its 150-seat Airbus A320, and will offer the airline’s award-winning service featuring comfortable seating; free Fly-Fi, the fastest broadband internet in the sky; complimentary and unlimited name-brand snacks and non-alcoholic/soft drinks; free, live DIRECTV® programming and 100+ channels of SiriusXM® radio in every seatback; and the most legroom in coach (based on average fleet-wide seat pitch of U.S. airlines).
“We are very excited to partner with yet another prestigious carrier such as JetBlue,” said Michael Zuccato, general manager at Cuba Travel Services. “A second JFK rotation will provide additional options for travelers in the Tri-State area as well as those connecting passengers that prefer a New York gateway to Cuba. This new partnership will provide our clients with the high quality of service that they’ve grown accustomed to with Cuba Travel Services at a more competitive price.”
With the addition to the New York-Havana flight, JetBlue will operate five weekly round trips to Cuba, including flights from Tampa (TPA) and Fort Lauderdale (FLL) with various charter partners. Cuba will one day play an important role in JetBlue’s overall Caribbean network, a region where JetBlue is the largest airline. The airline began flying to Cuba for charter companies in 2011.