JetBlue launches historic first day of service between US and Havana
NEW YORK - JetBlue on Monday announced the historic launch of service to Havana’s José Martí International Airport (HAV) from three of the airline’s focus cities, with the first flight taking off on Monday morning shortly after 9 am from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). JetBlue’s service to Havana from Orlando begins November 29 and service from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood begins November 30.
JetBlue flight 243 became the first commercial flight to Cuba from the New York area since scheduled service resumed this year and marked the first day of US commercial service to the Cuban capital in more than 50 years. The New York metropolitan area is home to the second-largest Cuban-American population in the US.
“JetBlue didn’t even exist when commercial service ended, and now we are a leading airline in Cuba and the Caribbean,” said Robin Hayes, president and chief executive officer, JetBlue. “We are proud to touch down in Havana today on the very first day of commercial service between the US and Cuba’s capital.”
“This inaugural flight between New York and Havana is a milestone in this new era of progress between our two nations, and another tangible result of this state's successful trade mission to Cuba,” said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. “I congratulate JetBlue on this landmark accomplishment, which will help further ties and strengthen the economic relationship between New York and Cuba."
The launch of Havana service also marks a major milestone for JetBlue as the Cuban capital becomes the airline’s 100th destination in 22 countries. Less than 17 years since its first flight, JetBlue, known for offering an award-winning experience at a competitive price, now serves an exciting and diverse range of destinations throughout the US, Caribbean and Latin America.
JetBlue now serves four destinations in Cuba. With its inaugural flight to Santa Clara in August, JetBlue became the first US carrier to operate commercial flights between the US and Cuba in more than 50 years. Earlier this month JetBlue began serving the cities of Camagüey and Holguín.
“We commend the work of both US and Cuban officials for making today possible. We also commend the Cuban Ministry of Transportation, IACC, and the Havana Airport for entrusting us to operate this route and look forward to our long-term partnership as we continue to grow our presence in Cuba,” Hayes said.
Service between Florida and Cuba Grows
New York flights will be followed later this week by JetBlue’s first nonstop flights between Orlando International Airport (MCO) and Havana on Tuesday, November 29, as well as new nonstop service between Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) and Havana on Wednesday, November 30. A second nonstop between Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood and Havana will begin Thursday, December 1 and operate daily except Saturdays.
JetBlue Sets Out to Remove Cost and Complexity for Customers
With affordable fares in each of its Cuban markets, JetBlue has removed the high costs and complexity of travel to Cuba while offering the same award-winning service that has made the airline popular throughout the Caribbean. JetBlue is taking a number of steps unique to its Cuba launch to set it apart from competitors:
• Affordable fares: JetBlue offers a low starting fare to make Cuba more accessible to those visiting family members or traveling to Cuba for cultural, business or group travel.
• Health insurance included: JetBlue includes Cuban government-required health insurance coverage for all travelers on all Cuba-bound flights so that customers do not have to worry about obtaining the insurance separately.
• Affidavit in a few clicks: Under US regulations, every customer traveling to Cuba must complete an affidavit affirming the customer is going for one of 12 reasons of approved travel from the US Department of Treasury. JetBlue has built the completion of the affidavit right into the booking process so it can be finished in only a couple of clicks.
• Day-of-travel Cuban Tourist Visa (Tourist Card): Separate from the US-regulated 12 categories, Cuba requires visitors to obtain an entrance visa onto the island. For customers who qualify for a Cuban Tourist Visa (Tourist Card), JetBlue will make those available for purchase upon check-in at one of its gateway airports or at the gate for connecting customers on the day of travel. All travelers to Cuba should make their own determination with respect to the appropriate type of visa required by Cuba for their purpose of travel.