Havana

Cubana Airlines returns to Costa Rica

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SAN JOSE, Costa Rica–Cuban national airline company Cubana de Aviación will offer nonstop flights between Cuba and Costa Rica starting on November 16th, the airline confirmed to Cuban media this week. The carrier dropped the route in August 2008 in order to code share the flight with TACA. But the airline will reopen the flight as part of an objective to boost tourism between the two countries. “We will offer two weekly flights on Thursday and Sunday departing from Havana in the mornings. The flights will last two hours and thirty minutes,” said Walfredo Riverón Rodríguez, corporate communications director. Flights will have a capacity of 85 passengers, operated with modern Antonov AN-158. Tickets for the route are already available at travel agencies and on the airline’s website, Riverón said. “The route will offer a great opportunity to expand ties between Central American and Caribbean countries and for developing multi-destination routes in the area,” he added. Data from the Costa Rican Tourism Board showed that only 3,372 travelers visited from Cuba last year.

Cubana Airlines will operate AN-158 to San Jose.
Cubana Airlines will operate AN-158 to San Jose.

 

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Costa Rica eyes Russian Market

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SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – Costa Rica will eliminate the visa requirement for citizens of the Russian Federation as a measure to increase tourism and investments from that country, immigration and tourism officials said on Monday.The measure will allow a maximum stay of up to 30 days that can be extended for up to 90 days for each Russian citizen. The decree already was approved and will be published in coming days in the official newspaper La Gaceta, Tourism Minister Allan Flores said. The number of Russian tourists currently visiting Costa Rica is low: Only 4,146 tourists from that country entered Costa Rica in 2013, Flores said. A study by the Costa Rican Tourism Board last year said Russian tourists who would be interested in visiting the country have incomes of more than $120,000 a year. They usually travel with their families and spend up to $5,000 during an average 11-day visit. Allan Flores also said that at least two Russian airlines are evaluating offering special flights to Costa Rica’s Juan Santamaría International Airport in Alajuela/San Jose and Liberia’s Daniel Oduber International Airport in the northwestern province of Guanacaste. Some of the flights would connect via the Dominican Republic and Havana, Cuba. Even though the airlines were not named Aeroflot Russian Airlines operates from Moscow to Havana and  Transaero Airlines operates from Moscow to Punta Cana.

Its expected that Aeroflot and Transaero could start flights to both international airports in Costa Rica.
Its expected that Aeroflot and Transaero could start flights to both international airports in Costa Rica.

Second U.S. Gateway for TAME

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QUITO, Ecuador–Ecuadorian flag carrier TAME has informed that in April, it will start Quito-Fort Lauderdale-Quito flights. This will be the second U.S. gateway for TAME (the airline already operates to New York-JFK). Fernando Guerrero, the General Manager of the airline is revamping its schedule, hoping to convert Quito’s Mariscal Sucre International Airport in a connecting hub. The flights from Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires and Lima will easily connect in Quito to New York-JFK, Fort Lauderdale and Havana, Cuba. The airline also analyzes if to suspend its flights to Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport for six months as load factors are around 50%. Also TAME has a code sharing agreement with the Panamanian airline COPA Airlines. Guerrero is planning to adjust TAME’s actual structure to the growth the airline has had in the last years, becoming the most important carrier of the country. At the moment more international routes are just in planning analysis like Quito-San Jose, Costa Rica. Last May Avianca’s TACA Airlines suspended its operations connecting the Ecuadorian capital with San Jose opening the opportunity for TAME’s operation to the Costa Rican capital.

TAME of Ecuador will start flights between Quito and Fort Lauderdale in April.
TAME of Ecuador will start flights between Quito and Fort Lauderdale in April.

“Adios” IBERIA

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HAVANA, Cuba. — In April 1949 the Spanish flag carrier IBERIA started flights between Madrid and the Cuban capital Havana. Sixty four years later the airline will have on April 1st, 2013 its last flight to the island nation. The end of an era. For the Spanish carrier Cuba and the Dominican Republic are non-profitable destinations, reasons for the suspension of the air service. IBERIA operated daily flights from Madrid/Barajas International Airport to Havana with wide-bodied Airbus A-340-600s. The traffic between Spain and Cuba is huge but now it will have to be attended by the twice weekly flights of Cubana de Aviacion and the daily operation of Air Europa.

An IBERIA Airbus A-340-600 departs Madrid-Barajas to La Habana, Cuba.
An IBERIA Airbus A-340-600 departs Madrid-Barajas to Havana, Cuba.