Canada’s Sunwing to return to Cuba on Oct. 8 

Canadian leisure airline Sunwing will launch flights this fall from five Canadian cities to Cuban beach destinations, marking the carrier’s return to the Caribbean island nation.

Sunwing served Cuba starting in 2005, but the Toronto-based airline dropped flights to the country because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Explaining its decision to return to the island, Sunwing cited “easing entry requirements and soaring vaccination rates in Cuba, along with competitive pricing for pre-departure [COVID-19] PCR tests at $30 per person.”

According to Our World in Data, 38% of Cubans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. That is ahead of the world vaccination rate of 30.5%, but well below Canada’s 69% full-vaccination rate.

From Oct. 8, Sunwing will start 1-weekly service to Varadero (VRA) in Cuba from both Toronto (YYZ) and Montreal (YUL). From Oct. 9, the carrier will launch 1X-weekly service between YYZ and Cayo Coco (CCC) in Cuba. From Oct. 16, the all-Boeing 737 operator will begin 1X-weekly service between YUL and CCC. From Nov. 2, the carrier will launch 1X-weekly service to VRA from both Calgary (YYC) and Edmonton (YEG).

Sunwing previously announced it will fly between Ottawa (YOW) and CCC 1X-weekly starting Nov. 16.

“Cuba has been an integral part of our operations ever since our inaugural flight took off from Toronto to Varadero in 2005," Sunwing president of tour operations Andrew Dawson said.

"Our Cuba program has continued to grow since then, and has been one of our most popular destinations over the past decade. The resort towns of Varadero and Cayo Coco both offer serene beach locations and secluded tourist areas for a relaxing retreat, away from the hustle and bustle of larger cities.”

Photo credit: Rob Finlayson

Aaron Karp

Aaron Karp is a Contributing Editor to the Aviation Week Network.