American was the first US carrier in more than 50 years to arrive back in Havana with commercial flights when AA17 from Miami landed at 8:25am on Monday. JetBlue soon followed with B6 243 arriving at 1pm from JFK. United’s 1502 from Newark was supposed to follow shortly thereafter with a scheduled landing at 1:53pm, though the flight didn’t touch down until 2:46pm due to a 57 minute departure delay at Newark. The Houston Business Journal received the following explanation from United:
While in the air en route to the island nation, a United spokesman attributed the delay to complications involved in getting everyone checked in for the flight. Cuban officials have been strict about requiring the proper paperwork from visitors, which includes visas, even for passengers who don’t plan on leaving the Havana airport.
United is providing daily 737 service from Newark and weekly flights from Houston:
“This is something that two generations of Cuban-Americans have dreamt of, and we couldn’t be more proud to be the airline that provides them with the service to their homeland,” said Steve Morrissey, United’s vice president of regulatory and policy. “Today’s Newark to Havana flight will be the culmination of many months of hard work, planning and anticipation. It’s truly a day to celebrate.”
Daily nonstop service from New York/Newark (EWR)
United’s daily nonstop flight from Newark Liberty International Airport will provide an important gateway to Cuba from the Newark/New York City region, the largest metropolitan area in the country and home to the second-largest population of Cuban Americans. For more than 20 years, United has offered the Newark/New York City region the most flights to the most destinations around the world.
Saturday nonstop service from Houston (IAH)
Bush Intercontinental will be an important gateway for service to Havana and will directly connect 20 markets across the central and western United States to Cuba with just one stop. The Cuban-American population in the Houston metropolitan area ranks among the top ten cities in the country.