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American Airlines wants the Havana flights JetBlue is giving up

Jan. 30, 2020
3 min read
American Airlines wants the Havana flights JetBlue is giving up
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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.

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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.

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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 Getty Images

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The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

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  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023