US carriers plan to seek the new authorities to serve Cuba, preparing applications for the 110 new daily frequencies.

American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, Silver Airways and United Airlines have all expressed strong interest in serving Cuba under the bilateral air services agreement between the two countries that was signed today.

The carriers can apply for 20 daily frequencies to Havana and 10 daily frequencies each to Camaguey, Cayo Coco, Cayo Largo, Cienfuegos, Holguin, Manzanillo, Santa Clara, Santiago de Cuba and Varadero.

Fort Worth-based American is the only carrier to name a gateway – its Miami International airport hub – that it plans to seek in the proceeding.

“We applaud the administration for making commercial air service a priority and we thank secretary [of transportation] Foxx, secretary [of state] Kerry and their teams for their leadership in finalising this arrangement,” says Doug Parker, chairman and chief executive of the Oneworld Alliance carrier, in a statement. “American looks forward to submitting a Cuba service proposal to the Department of Transportation in the coming weeks.”

Initial applications for the frequencies are due on 2 March under an “accelerated procedural schedule” with a goal of allowing service to begin by the third quarter, a DOT filing states.

“We look forward to providing access to the island from the US and around the world,” says Nicolas Ferri, vice-president of Latin America and the Caribbean at Delta, in a statement. “This market will increase the strength of our network in the Caribbean.”

The SkyTeam Alliance carrier operates large Caribbean gateways at its Atlanta base and New York John F Kennedy airport hub.

“As a leading airline to the Caribbean and as an experienced carrier serving Cuba with charter flights since 2011, JetBlue eagerly awaits the opportunity to grow our service with regularly scheduled routes between various US and Cuban cities,” says Rob Land, senior vice-president of government affairs at JetBlue, in a statement.

The New York-based carrier operates charters to Havana and Santa Clara from Fort Lauderdale, New York JFK and Tampa.

“As a company with a long history of providing charter flights to Cuba, Silver will apply to the US DOT to serve most, if not all, of the ten approved destinations within Cuba, including Havana,” says Sami Teittinen, president and chief executive of Silver, in a statement.

Teittinen said in December 2015 that they intend to serve Cuba from its Florida bases, including Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Tampa, to Cuba with its fleet of Saab 340B turboprops.

Chicago-based United “applauds” the new agreement and plans to seek service to Havana from “some of its global gateways”, it says in a statement.

Likely gateways for the Star Alliance carrier include Houston Intercontinental and Newark Liberty airports.

Source: Cirium Dashboard