American Airlines wants the Havana flights JetBlue is giving up

Jan 30, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

American Airlines wants to boost its schedule to Havana this summer, seeking two daily flights that JetBlue Airways will drop in April.

The Oneworld alliance carrier wants operate eight daily flights — a near shuttle operation — between Miami (MIA) and Havana (HAV) starting around June 4, American said in an application to the U.S. Department of Transportation on Tuesday. The proposed schedule includes the two daily flights being returned by JetBlue to the regulator, plus the six daily flights American already flies on the route.

The new flights would be flown with Boeing 737-800s outfitted with 172 seats.

Sign up for the free daily TPG newsletter for more airline news!

JetBlue will end its flights between Havana and both Boston (BOS) and Orlando (MCO), as well as reduce its daily New York John F. Kennedy (JFK) and Havana service to Saturdays-only on April 28. The New York-based carrier will continue to serve the Cuban capital up to thrice-daily from Fort Lauderdale (FLL).

U.S. carriers are only allowed 20 scheduled daily flights to Havana. American holds six of those flights, JetBlue and Southwest Airlines what amounts to roughly 4.5 each, Delta Air Lines three, and United Airlines two.

Demand to Cuba among Americans has been hampered by tightening restrictions on travel between the two countries since President Trump took office in 2017. This month, the U.S. suspended all public charter flights to Cuba as part of its opposition to the Cuban government.

Related: JetBlue drops Oakland, shrinks in Havana amid broader route shakeup

American wants more Havana flights to “enhance” its existing schedule from Miami, according to its application. The move does not appear driven by demand — a word that appears just once in the application — but rather by a desire to lock up as many limited Havana flights for the day when travel restrictions ease and demand rises.

Other airlines still have an opportunity to seek the former JetBlue flights before the DOT awards them to American. When airlines have returned Havana flights in the past, American, JetBlue and Southwest have all sought expanded service.

American plans to grow capacity by 4-5% year-over-year in 2020. However, those plans could be slowed by the continued grounding of the 737 MAX.

Related: American Airlines outlines 2020 growth plans

Featured image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.