A JetBlue flight from Boston landed in Havana on Saturday, November 10. the U.S. airline has expanded its routes to Cuba despite a drop in American visitors amid tensions between the countries. The plane with more than 120 passengers on board was received with flags from both countries at the Jose Marti airport in Cuba’s capital. This route is the only non-stop service to Havana from the New England region according to Giselle Cortes, director of International Airports of the company.
Commercial flights between the countries were ended a half century ago during the Cold War. But they resumed in 2016 amid the rapprochement between Washington and Cuba that followed the 2014 return of diplomatic relations under the Obama administration.
Since Donald Trump took over the U.S. presidency and placed new restriction on travel to Cuba, the number of U.S. visitors to the island dropped. A Cuban report shows that in the first quarter of 2018 the number of Americans visiting the island fell by 43 percent compared to the same period last year.
“From the first day we’ve been willing to commit ourselves to this island long term,” said Giselle Cortes, director of international airports at JetBlue. “We’ve been the only one who has not canceled any routes but have added Havana to Boston.” Airlines such as Alaska, Spirit, Frontier and Delta dropped service to Cuba because of weak demand.