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
Dive into the warm water of Varadero beach and relax under the caribbean sunshine
- Book now and benefit from huge savings with the launch of the new Virgin Atlantic to Varadero offer!
- Suites feature a separate living area and Tropical suites feature breathtaking views of the sea
- Golf lovers can play on the nearby Varadero 18 hole golf course
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
Stay in two top ranked hotels on a twin centre holiday that blends luxury and historically perfectly to create a holiday of a lifetime
- Take advantage of an amazing room upgrade from a Standard Room to a Sea View Room at NH Capri
- Stay in two of the top ranked hotels in Cuba, perfectly paired to offer you a holiday like no other
- Royalton Hicacos is a luxurious resort located one of the finest beaches in Varadero where there is a little or as much as you want to do on offer including a spa and activity program
- NH Capri is located in the heart of cultural Havana and is embroiled in history being one of the most popular hotels with the gangsters of the 1950’s
Combine colourful and vibrant Havana with a relaxing summer 2017 beach holiday in an award winning resort on the shores of Varadero
- Book early and benifit from huge early bird summer discounts!
- Discover Havana by day visit the historial sites and by night you can listen to live music or dance to the Salsa beat
- Enjoy complimentary pool-based dive courses on offer for beginners and experience one free daily dive at the Royalton Hicacos
- Three freshwater pools including four whirlpools and signature swim-up pool bar at Royalton Hicacos ensure an unforgettable holiday
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,...
Villa Romero is beautiful in its design, and its comfortable rooms are pleasantly decorated to a high standard, offering...
Enjoy a hearty welcome from hosts that exude contagious Cuban charm on an escape to Cuba. Explore not only the vibrant...