American Airlines today celebrates 25 years of charter service to Cuba – invaluable and unmatched experience that positions American to be a leader when scheduled service begins later this year. American’s first charter flight to Cuba departed Miami International Airport for Jose Marti International Airport in Havana on April 5, 1991.
Leo Rodriguez, a Miami-based Tower Planner who has coordinated American’s Cuba charter flights for the past 25 years, recently reflected on his experience. “Back then, going to Cuba was like going to the moon. It was not like it is today. But I always thought our work was important and we were laying the foundation for a regular operation. It has been really exciting because we were pioneers.”
Rodriguez, who was born in Cuba and is a 35-year employee of American Airlines, is optimistic about the prospect of regularly scheduled flights to his home country and is honored to have played a role in the process. “It’s going to be the culmination of 25 years of work. We have worked really hard and all those efforts are about to pay off. I am proud to have been part of something that is about to give birth to something bigger.”
In addition to American’s wealth of experience and familiarity with ground operations in Cuba, no carrier has made a greater commitment to Miami-Dade County – the heart and soul of the Cuban-American community and home to nearly 50 percent of the Cuban-American population in the U.S. American is the undisputed leader among all airlines serving the people and businesses of Miami-Dade, and offers unrivaled connectivity through its Miami hub.
Last month, American submitted an application to the U.S. Department of Transportation proposing to operate scheduled service between the U.S. and Cuba, including 10 daily frequencies from Miami to Havana and additional service to Havana from American’s hubs in Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Chicago and Los Angeles. American’s proposal also includes daily service between Miami and five other Cuban cities.
American’s proposed Cuba service:
· Miami – 10 daily frequencies
· Charlotte – one daily frequency
· Dallas/Fort Worth – one daily frequency
· Chicago – one weekly frequency
· Los Angeles – one weekly frequency
Also from Miami:
· Two daily frequencies to Santa Clara
· Two daily frequencies to Holguin
· Two daily frequencies to Varadero
· One daily frequency to Camaguey
· One daily frequency to Cienfuegos