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Aviacion Cubana

The Cuban Civil Aviation: New routes of the ninetyes

Ruben Urribarres

The fall of the Berlin wall and the opening to the turismo, provoke that the routes of Cubana change from  the ex-communist Europe, to Western Europe and Latin America

Begin the operation Havana (Cuba) - Helsinki (Finland), as well as other operations with characteristics of charter to Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), Cancún (Mexico), Guayaquil (Equator), Fort de France (Martinica) and Montego Bay (Jamaica).  The flights to Nassau began again as charter.
September 24, begin to fly the DC-10, in the route Havana (Cuba)- Madrid (Spain).  In that year begin the flights to Pointe to Pitre (Island Guadalupe).

Begin the charter operations to Las Palmas (Islands Canarias), London (England) and Sao Paulo (in June). Is incorporated the DC-10 to the flights Havana (Cuba) - Paris (France).  November 26 are canceled the routes of Lima (Peru) and Managua (Nicaragua).

DC-10 take-off from Barcelona to Havana
DC-10-30 F-GDLY of Cubana-AOM take-off from Barcelona to Havana,
Sep 1999 (Courtesy of Marlo Plate)

Con el arrendamiento de otro DC-10-30 se da mayor amplitud a nuestra flota. En junio se comienza a volar con carácter de charter a Bogotá (Colombia) , con TU-154 y el vuelo a Sao Paulo (Brasil) se convierte en regular. El 1 de julio se comienza a volar de forma regular a Cancún (México) con TU-154. Se comienza a volar de forma regular a Londres (Inglaterra).

With the leasing of another DC-10-30 grow the eater capacity of the fleet.  In June Cubana begins to fly with character of charter to Bogota (Colombia), with Tu-154 and the flight to Sao Paulo (Brazil) becomes regular.  July 1 begins to fly from regular form to Cancún (Mexico) with Tu-154.  Begins the regular fly to London (England).


The Fokker F-27 sustitute some An-24
 Fokker F-27 of Cubana substitute the  Antonov An-24 in some routes (Courtesy of  Mark Taylor)

In March, begins the regular fly to Barcelona (Spain) and May 16, is inaugurated the route Havana - Grand Caiman, with they An-24.  In July begins the regular flight to Vitoria (Spain).  August 12 is inaugurated the route Havana - Caracas (Venezuela) as charter itinerante with Yak-42.  October 9 begins the fly to Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) through Sao Paulo (Brazil), in that same month flies to Las Palms (Islands Canarias), already of regular form.  The first national flight with F-27 begin March 24 from Havana to Camagüey (Cuba), and May 1 in international routes Havana - Varadero (Cuba) - Montego Bay (Jamaica).

January 13, begins the regular fly to Bogota (Colombia).  In February begin the flights to Quito (Equator) and is the regular fligts to Guayaquil (Equator).  March 18 begins the fly to Belice as charter, twice to the week, with F-27.  April 12 the operations to Lima are renewed as charter.  April 14 begins the fly to Fort of France (Martinica) and Pointe a Pitre (Island Guadalupe) as charter.  June 15 begins the flight to London with equipment DC-10 and the 19 of that same month begin the operation Havana - Rome (Italy) as regular flight and with DC-10.  In July began the regular flight to Lisbon (Portugal) and in that same month the operation to Santiago de Compostela (Spain) begins like charter.  July 18 begin the first regular flight to Lima (Peru).  In August was obtained the Right of 5th Liberty betwen Moscow (Russia) and Las Palms (Islands Canarias).  November 4 begin the first regular flight Havana - Caracas (Venezuela).  In December begins to fly to Frankfurt (Germany) as charter and the 3 of that same month flies to San José de Costa Rica in regular form.  In that year begin the operations to St Maarten (French Islands of the Caribe).


Yak-40 flying
 The new airline Aerogaviota take Yak-40 airplanes from Cubana (Courtesy of Mark Taylor)

In January, begins the regular operation to Mendoza (Argentina). In that same month begins the charter flight to Montevideo (Uruguay), and in March of the same year, it is added the flight to Buenos Aires (Argentina).  In April is incorporated to the route Havana - Buenos Aires (Argentina) the equipment DC-10 and the flight to Fort of France (Martinica) and Pointe to Pitre (Island Guadalupe) begins with regular character.  In July flies to Santiago de Compostela (Spain) and to Frankfurt (Germany) of regular form. October 26 began the second frequency to London (England) and the 31 the flights to Gattwick (London).  In November the flight to Vitoria (Spain), also, is done regular.

April 15, begins the third frequency to London (England).

February 1, Cubana suspends its flights to Moscow with Il-62M and in that route agrees a joint flight Cubana-Aeroflot with Il-96-300 of Aeroflot, in two weekly flights.


ATR-42 in Honduras
 This ATR-42 CU-T1297 of Aerocaribbean just landing in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, inaugurating this route the Jun 25, 1999

After that the hurricanes George and Mitch desolated the region of the Caribe and Central America, the medical aid of Cuban medical brigades and aid supplies have been transported to countries as Guatemala, Haití, Honduras and Nicaragua, in the airplanes of Cubana, to comply with this humane mission.  June 25 begin the flights to City Guatemala with three weekly frequencies, with scales in Costa Rica and Belize.  The same day arrives the first flight of Aerocaribbean with ATR-42 to San Pedro Sula, Honduras, with 27 passengers.  The previous week had arrived the first flight of Cubana, in an Airbus A-320.  November 5 begin flights Havana - Geneve with DC-10.

April 1, begin the charter flights Havana - Los Angeles, USA, by the central american group TACA, with Airbus A-320.  In the same April 2000 is opened the new airport of Santa Lucia, in Camaguey. 

Today. Economics results and chronology

  Economics results

After the creation of two news Cuban airlines, Cubana is transformed to "Cubana de Aviación S.A", with an experience accumulated of 70 years, continues its development and nowadays works for maintaining and to increase the number of its international routes to satisfy the high demand of the tourism that moves Toward and since the Island; and to enlarge its efficiency.  Seventeen destinies in the Continent, seventeen in Europe and eight in The Caribe are reflection of its growth and reach.
Airbus A320 of Cubana flying over Toronto
 Airbus A-320 EI-TLJ of Cubana landing in Toronto-Lester, Mat 5, 1999 (Courtesy of John Kelley)

At present Cubana transports the 34% of the persons that travel to Cuba and arranges a fleet of half of hundred of airships.  All the 4 airlines of the Corporación de la Aviación Civil S.A. (Corporation of the Civil Aviation INC). produce:
Benefits in 1996 
Benefits in 1997 
Benefits in 1998 
$ 26 millions
$ 34,1 millions
$ 70 millions

The volume of operations in 1998 are US $ 480,2 million and Cuban pesos.  Were transported 810,000 passengers by Cubana and Aerocaribbean and 759,000 passengers of Aerotaxi and Aerogaviota, for a total of 1,569,000 passengers.  Aerocaribbean transports in 1999 150,000 passengers in internal routes and 50,000 in international. 

Were increased the services of the airports of Havana, Varadero, Cayo Largo, Camaguey and Holguin.  For example, in 1998 was opened the 3th Terminal of the International Airport "José Martí", built with a cost of $ 93 million.  This terminal permits increase the volume of passengers received and the services.  Next to Varadero, both airports receive the 80% of the visitors to the country. 

In the beginnings of the XXI century, Cubana de Aviation faces the demand of the new times to offer to its clients an efficient service in correspondence with the standard of the contemporary civil aviation.  Is impossible to resume 70 years of history of this airline in some brief lines, but the intent should give an scrutinize of what represents the Company that has traveled a long road of achievements and efforts. 
An-26 of Aerogaviota in Varadero
 Antonov An-26 of Aerogaviota in Varadero, 1997 (Courtesy of Damiano Gualdoni)

  Chronology of the Cuban airliners in the history

 Compañía Aérea Cubana. Closed at Sept,1921
 Servicio Cubano de Aviación, S.A.
 Líneas Aéreas de Cuba - Closed 1933
 Compañía Nacional Cubana de Transporte Aéreo - Closed in 1933
 Compañía Nacional Cubana de Aviación Curtiss, S.A.
 Compañía Nacional Cubana de Aviación S.A -  Bought by Pan American to Curtiss
 Compañía Cubana de Aviación, S.A. - Controled by Cuban capital
 Empresa Consolidada Cubana de Aviación. - Nationalizated and united to the others.
 Empresa Consolidada Cubana de Aviación. - Nationalizated
 Cubana de Aviación S.A.
 Expreso Aéreo Interamericano -  The May 25,1959 is united to Cubana
 Aerovías Q -  The May 25,1959 is united to Cubana
 Corporación Aeronáutica Antillana - Closed in 1959
 Cuba Aeropostal - The May 25,1959 is united to Cubana
 Aerovías del Sur de Cuba - Closed in 1959
 Aerovías del Norte SA. - Closed in 1959
 Aerogaviota. Controled by FAR 
 Aerotaxi. Is part of the company Gaviota S.A. and controled by FAR

  Related articles
The Trasatlantic Flight of Menendez Pelaez
1913. Audacious Flight of Rosillo and Parlá
1933-1938, Cuban Military Aviation. The 1933 Revolution and her consequences.

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