By Dana Niland
JetBlue Airways has officially launched its first-ever service between New York and Havana.
The company began the first of its weekly charter flights from New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport to Havana’s José Martí International airport last week, making it the first major carrier to offer the route since travel restrictions with Cuba were eased earlier this year.
With this addition, JetBlue now offers five weekly flights to Cuba per week, including those from Tampa and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood.
“JetBlue already has a proven track record of providing outstanding service to the Caribbean and has operated a successful series of charters to Cuba since 2011,” said Scott Laurence, Senior Vice President of airline planning at JetBlue. “As interest in Cuban markets grows, JetBlue is positioning itself as a leading carrier to the island nation by offering more convenient flight options than ever.”
Then flight service was announced in early May after a successful visit to Cuba by New York governor Andrew Cuomo, who led a delegation that included JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes.
Travelers can make arrangements for the flight service, which operates on Fridays, directly with Cuba Travel Services, a leading authorized carrier service provider.
While travel to Cuba remains restricted for Americans, it can be done under one of 12 licensed categories of travel, from people-to-people tours to educational trips.
JetBlue has expressed its interest in operating regularly scheduled service between the US and Cuba if and when such travel becomes fully legalized.
“As the largest US airline to the Caribbean, Cuba will one day play an important role in JetBlue’s overall network in the region,” the company said in a release.
JetBlue is operating the New York-Havana flights on Airbus A320 aircraft with 150 seats.