Two Airlines Dropping Cuba Routes Amid Lower Than Expected Demand

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When U.S. airlines were fighting it out last year to win approval for flights to Cuba, they were no doubt expecting Americans would be rushing to airports under recently-loosened rules for personal travel to the island nation. But that demand hasn’t been as robust as expected, prompting two domestic carriers to drop a few routes to Cuba.

Silver Airways has made “the difficult but necessary” decision to halt all its Cuba service on April 22, reports the Miami Herald, giving up its dream to eventually fly routes to all nine Cuban cities (not including Havana) that the U.S. has authorized for commercial flights. The airline will continue to monitor the situation, however, and “will consider resuming service in the future if the commercial environment changes.”

Frontier Airlines will be dropping its Miami to Havana flight on June 4 because costs have been higher than expected while demand has been lower.

“Market conditions have failed to materialize there, and excess capacity has been allocated to the Florida-Cuba market,” the airline said in a statement.

So where are all the travelers? One factor could be that tourist travel is still not allowed: If you’re planning on traveling to Cuba, you must qualify for one of 12 categories, including visiting family, working as a journalist, official government business, or others.

Some of the shine may also be off the idea of visiting Cuba now that it’s no longer banned by the government.

“This lack of demand coupled with overcapacity by the larger airlines has made the Cuban routes unprofitable for all carriers,” Silver said in statement.

Other airlines are adjusting as well: JetBlue has put smaller planes on its Cuba routes, notes the Herald, and in February, American Airlines dropped three of its 10 daily flights from the country.

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