Flights price war spells trouble for commercial flights to Cuba
A whole range of new commercial flights to Cuba are painting a positive picture for travellers wishing to explore the island, with plenty of low cost tickets on offer as firms compete for business. However, an expected price war spells trouble for many charter airlines, who fear they just won't be able to compete with reduced prices.
Tampa to Havana airfares set to halve with first commercial flights ready for take off, according to a report in Tampa Bay Times. The future of charter flights between the US and Cuba look in doubt with commercial airlines set to resume services connecting the two countries for the first time in more than half a century.
Since President Obama relaxed travel restrictions to the island in 2011, there has been a steady growth in charter flights between Tampa and Cuba, with more than 71,000 passengers making the trip in 2015 alone. During this time the number of services has grown from two each week to nine during peak season.
However with commercial flights likely to begin operating, tour operators are beginning to withdraw from the market fearing that they will not be able to compete with major carriers' lower prices.
While prices for the route are yet to be announced, Miami-based Havana Consulting Group recently predicted that that commercial airlines could offer tickets from South Florida to Havana for as little as $150 to $250. This compares to charter flights which can cost more $400 for the same trip.
Routes to other Cuban cities could prove to be even better value too, with JetBlue claiming they will operate flights between Fort Lauderdale and Santa Clara, Camaguey and Holguin from as little as $99. The good news for those wishing to make the journey doesn't end there either, as unlike charter flights commercial services will be able to offer baggage transfer and frequent flyer miles to customers.
Charter flight companies are scaling back their schedules but taking the opportunity to diversify in to other areas, such as organising visas for travellers, with tourism in Cuba set to grow exponentially over the next few years. Frank Reno, president of Cuba Executive Travel based in Tampa, agrees that the market for charter flights may not be around for much longer. He explained:
"It comes down to competition. From the day we learned the big carriers would service Cuba, the question was whether the charters could keep up from a pure economic standpoint and if enough people want to go to Cuba that both are needed, if the answer to both is no, I think the charters unfortunately will be gone."
Tessie Aral of ABC Charters declared:
"The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated. We'll just go with the flow and make the needed business adjustments."
She agreed that time may be up for charter services in the coming months, but refused to be negative about the outlook for the industry as a whole, with increasing opportunities for companies to offer other travel services such as hotels, meals and trips.
Talk to a specialist
Call 020 7644 1770 to speak with our award-winning travel consultants.
Opening hours 09:00 - 21:00 GMT
Popular Holidays In Cuba Browse all
Enjoy the long list of fun options for all the family or bask on Varadero's pure white sands
- Sample a host of activities including snorkelling, kayaking, windsurfing, golf and more.
- Enjoy 24-hour all-inclusive service.
- Virgin Atlantic Sale, huge reductions sale ends 29th May 2017
- Located on a gorgeous stretch of Varadero beach.
- Exclusive Free upgrade to the Bungalow Suite
Soak up the Caribbean sun on Varadero’s white sands
- The state of the art facilities and décor, that ensure a comfortable stay
- The daytime activities program & Kids club.
- The perfect location along one of the most spectacular stretches of beach in Cuba.
Stay at a Havana hotel brimming with history then head off to a brand-new beachfront resort in Varadero
Relish the timeless charms of Cuba from the comfort of Cuba’s most cutting edge hotels
- Stay at two of Cuba’s most cutting edge hotels, bursting with modern comforts
- Relish an all-inclusive beach retreat, boasting an overabundance of facilities
- Explore Havana’s charismatic, timeless and bustling streets
A couples' special - enjoy the perfect mix of history, local culture and laidback beach retreat for the perfect romantic Cuban experience.
- Enjoy all kind of the Spa treatments, water and land sports at Blau Varadero
- Fantastic views to the ocean from the modern and elegant rooms with balcony or terrace
- The perfect location of Blau Varadero beside the pristine sandy beach
Varadero is a showpiece of Cuba's natural beauty; stunning white beaches, turquoise waters and clusters of lofty palm...
Get the best of Havana and Varadero with this fabulous combination of city and beach in two of Cuba's finest hotels, the...
If you want to really feel Cuba's beating heart and pulsating rhythms, this is one of the best for an unforgettable...
This 1920s colonial house is surrounded by lush vegetation and terrace areas and boasts a stunning array of antiques,...
Look out onto the day to day life of Havana's streets from the Casa Santy's balconies, with its great location and a...