American Airlines to start first US Cuba belly cargo service
AMERICAN Airlines says it has become the first US passenger carrier to offer a cargo product in Cuba with the launch of a mail service, including letters, parcels and express to and from Havana's Jose Marti International
AMERICAN Airlines says it has become the first US passenger carrier to offer a cargo product in Cuba with the launch of a mail service, including letters, parcels and express to and from Havana's Jose Marti International.
The airline currently operates four daily flights from Miami - scheduled to increase to five daily in October - and a daily fight from Charlotte Douglas International Airport. The Miami flights are operated with Boeing 737-800 aircraft and the Charlotte by an Airbus A319.
American also flies passenger-only services from Miami to Holguin, Santa Clara, Varadero and Camag?ey.
'We are excited to launch cargo service to the island,' said the carrier's vice president for cargo operations, David Vance, adding that 'our teams on the ground in the US and in Cuba have worked hard to make this a reality. This new service will benefit families in both countries.'
Express carrier FedEx had been poised to be the first US cargo carrier in Cuba, but in September last year asked for a postponement of its planned freighter service until June.
FedEx cited difficulties in finding suitable ground handling services, customs clearance problems and warehousing space as well as concerns about a change in policy by President, Donald Trump.
It had initially hoped to start a five-times-a-week service between Miami and Matanzas/Varadero in April 2017, following the February signing of an inter-government deal to re-establish scheduled air services between the two countries for more than 50 years.
Under the new arrangement, each country can operate up to 20 daily round trip flights between the US and Havana, and up to 10 daily round trip flights between the US and each of Cuba's other nine international airports, reports London's Air Cargo News.