HAVANA, Cuba, Saturday November 18, 2017 – A sixth United States carrier is set to pull out of Cuba, just a year after it launched services to the Spanish-speaking Caribbean country.
Alaska Airlines has confirmed that that it will cut its flights to Havana on January 22, 2018.
The Seattle-based airline said it was forced to make the move as a result of the drop in the demand for the destination.
According to airline spokesman Bobbie Egan, they have been struggling to fill seats over the past few months.
“After starting slowly — the Los Angeles-Havana flights were barely half-full in January — the airline was selling about 85 per cent of the seats on average by April. Demand remained strong through the summer but from there we saw softer bookings in the fall,” she said.
Egan attributed some of the decline to the passage of Hurricane Maria, which brushed past Cuba, leaving behind some damage back in September.
Another major blow for the carrier’s business in Cuba related to the new travel restrictions imposed on Havana by the Donald Trump administration.
Last week, Washington put into effect rules that ended an allowance for “people-to-people” or individual travel to Cuba.
The airline said 80 per cent of its passengers used that allowance.
The imminent departure of Alaska Airlines comes on the heels of similar action by American, Southwest, Spirit, Frontier and Silver Airways.