United To Return Newark-Havana Frequencies

Credit: Joe Pries

U.S. carrier United Airlines is planning to discontinue flights between New York Newark and Havana, the capital of Cuba, at the start of the winter 2023-24 season.

In a notice submitted to the U.S. Transportation Department (DOT), the airline stated that the 2,111-km (1,140-nm) route will cease operations from Oct. 29. Currently, flights are offered once a day utilizing Embraer E175 aircraft.

The notice acknowledged United's “best efforts to overcome challenging route economics” but ultimately led to the “difficult decision” of suspending flights. It added that customers affected by this service change will be provided with either alternate travel arrangements or a full refund.

United said it respects the DOT’s commitment to ensuring that limited entry route opportunities are used for the benefit of the traveling and shipping public. Consequently, it will not be seeking a dormancy waiver for these frequencies.

Instead, the Chicago-based carrier said it plans to focus on Houston George Bush Intercontinental (IAH) as its gateway to Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport (HAV). OAG Schedules Analyser data shows that United serves IAH-HAV daily at the present time using E175s and Boeing 737-800s.

United resumed commercial passenger flights between the U.S. and Cuba in November 2022 after a hiatus of more than two-and-a-half years because of the pandemic. It now provides about 2,300 weekly seats to and from Cuba’s capital.

The Star Alliance member’s exit from the New York-Havana market will leave JetBlue Airways as the sole provider of nonstop flights between the cities. JetBlue offers a weekly service from New York John F. Kennedy using Airbus A320s.

The wider U.S.-Havana market sees JetBlue fly 2X-daily from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) and Southwest Airlines offer 3X-daily FLL-HAV flights. American Airlines and Delta Air Lines serve Miami-HAV 8X-daily and 2X-daily respectively, while Southwest offers Tampa-HAV 8X-weekly.

David Casey

David Casey is Editor in Chief of Routes, the global route development community's trusted source for news and information.