Spirit Airlines latest carrier to cut back on Cuba flights hurting Florida’s tourism

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Low-cost Spirit Airlines is the latest carrier to cut flights to Cuba.

The Miramar-based airline began serving Havana on Dec. 1 with twice-daily flights from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

But Spirit President and CEO Bob Fornaro said Friday that “the costs of serving Havana continue to outweigh the demand for service.” The airline will reduce its flight schedule next month and end its Havana service June 1.

Airline spokesman Paul Berry told the Sun-Sentinel (http://bit.ly/2pmLqo7 ) that customers who need new accommodations or refunds will be contacted.

Fort Lauderdale-based Silver Airways and budget carrier Frontier Airlines also are suspending service to Cuba in the coming weeks, citing lack of demand amid a glut of competition.

JetBlue Airways will fly smaller planes on routes from Fort Lauderdale and other U.S. cities to four Cuban destinations starting May 3.

According to The Miami Herald.

Fort Lauderdale-based Silver Airways said it had made “the difficult but necessary” decision to suspend all its Cuba service on April 22. It had originally hoped to serve all nine of the Cuban cities outside Havana that the U.S. Department of Transportation had authorized for regularly scheduled flights from the United States to Cuba.

Before cutting service completely on June 1, Spirit will operate an adjusted schedule that will reduce its daily flights to one in the morning from May 3 to 23. From May 24 to 31, the carrier will operate on its twice-daily schedule before ending flights altogether.

Silver has been using 34-seat aircraft on its Cuba routes. But some of its recent flights from Fort Lauderdale to Varadero have been carrying just two or three passengers, according to Cuban Customs reports.

Frontier is canceling its Miami-Havana route last year due to higher than anticipated costs and lower than expected demand. “Market conditions have failed to materialize there, and excess capacity has been allocated to the Florida-Cuba market,” the airline said in a statement.

 

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Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.