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Baltimore International Airport Postpones Cuba Flights until Autumn 2012

  • 06-Mar-12 15:20
  • Cuba
  • Washington Post

The weekly charter flight from Baltimore-Washington International Airport which was scheduled to start taking American tourists to their Cuba holidays later this month has been postponed until this autumn due to the lack of ticket sales.

Baltimore International Airport Postpones Cuba Flights until Autumn 2012

The weekly charter service between Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport and Havana has been postponed until autumn due to poor ticket sales.

The first flight was scheduled to take American travellers to their Cuba holidays on 21st March, 2012 but the route has only attracted six passengers despite the planned visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the Caribbean island on 26th March.

The head of the Florida-based travel agency, Island Travel and Tours, who arranged the new service, said that they will improve the publicity campaign and launch the flights to Cuba in October instead.

“We’ve had lots of calls and lots of interest, but that hasn’t translated into ticket sales,” explained William J. Hauf, the president of Island Travel and Tours. “We probably could have filled up the first flight, but we want to offer these flights on a weekly basis, and right now we weren’t confident we’d sell enough tickets for the second and third flights to cover a cost of $50,000 to $60,000 per flight.”

 Baltimore Washington International Airport
Image by: cseeman, on Flickr

The travel agency was confident that the relaxed Cuba travel restrictions and the Pope’s three-day visit would encourage travellers to book holidays in Cuba this month.

The Cuba flights had been promoted since January, 2012, but Hauf recognises that religious and educational organisations might have needed more time to plan Cuba holidays.

“We’re going to continue to promote this heavily so that when we begin [BWI] flights, probably in October, these groups will have had plenty of time to work it into their plans,” Hauf added.

Havana- Cuba
Image by: Eden Viaggi, on Flickr

Last January, U.S. President Barack Obama eased travel restrictions for American residents and they will now be able to legally visit the Caribbean island for religious, cultural, educational, academic, agricultural or professional purposes.

The decades-long embargo has prohibited American travellers from going on holidays to Cuba and though travel restrictions still apply, many U.S. residents will be able to visit Cuba for the first time under the new rules. Cuban-Americans, who were once restricted to limited travel back to their homeland, are now allowed to freely return to Cuba under the new law.

Several new U.S. airports have been given the go-ahead to offer charter flights to Cuba including Tampa, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, Los Angeles, Bush Intercontinental, Dallas/Fort Worth, New Orleans, Chicago O'Hare, Pittsburgh and San Juan.

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