Boliviana de Aviación Halts Flights to Cuba

Monday, June 10, 2024 by Claire Jimenez

Boliviana de Aviación Halts Flights to Cuba
Boliviana de Aviación airplane (Reference image) - Image © Wikimedia

Boliviana de Aviación (boA) will cease its direct flights from Santa Cruz de la Sierra to Havana starting July 25. The suspension comes just nine months after the route was launched in October of last year, featuring a weekly flight to Havana on a Boeing 737-800, according to an aviation news portal.

The main airline of Bolivia did not specify the reason for discontinuing the route, though industry analysts suggest such decisions typically occur when the operation is financially unsustainable and incurs losses. Bolivia's visa requirement for Cuban travelers further complicates passenger movement between Havana and Santa Cruz de la Sierra.

BoA entered the Caribbean market in October 2023 as part of an expansion that included Havana, Caracas (Venezuela), and Asunción (Paraguay). The airline continues to operate flights to these destinations as well as to Buenos Aires, Lima, Madrid, Miami, and São Paulo.

Founded in 2007 after the closure of Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano, Boliviana de Aviación has been noted for offering affordable domestic and international flights. For Cuba, the termination of BoA flights represents another loss of connectivity with South America. Earlier this year, Aerolíneas Argentinas also suspended its Havana flights following the rise to power of Javier Milei. Subsequently, Cubana de Aviación halted its operations to Buenos Aires due to issues with aircraft fuel suppliers.

Another lost connection for the island is the Medellín-Havana route operated by Wingo. However, not all news is negative for Cuba; Avianca is scheduled to resume its Bogotá-Havana flights starting July 2. Additionally, Arajet recently applied to connect Havana with its hub in Santo Domingo.

LATAM, through Lima, and Copa Airlines, via Panama City, are the main carriers linking South America to Cuba. Wingo also connects Havana with Bogotá, Colombia. Furthermore, Conviasa and Cubana de Aviación offer weekly flights between Caracas, Venezuela, and Havana. FlyAllways provides flights from Georgetown, Guyana to Havana and Santiago de Cuba. SKY High Dominicana connects the Cuban and Guyanese capitals, primarily serving Cubans seeking U.S. visas and shopping tourism.

The Cuban government has failed to meet its tourist arrival targets for nearly five years but continues to build new luxury hotels that remain vacant year-round. In 2023, the goal was to attract 3.5 million tourists, yet only 70 percent of that target was achieved. This key sector of the island's struggling economy shows no real signs of recovery.

Impact of Boliviana de Aviación Flight Suspension to Cuba

The suspension of flights by Boliviana de Aviación raises several questions about its impact on travel and Cuba's economy. Below are some frequently asked questions and their answers.

Why did Boliviana de Aviación suspend its flights to Cuba?

Although the airline has not provided a specific reason, industry analysts suggest that the route was financially unsustainable and incurred losses.

What other South American airlines have suspended flights to Cuba?

Aerolíneas Argentinas and Wingo have also suspended their routes to Havana, reducing Cuba’s connectivity with South America.

Are there any new flight routes being introduced to Cuba?

Yes, Avianca is scheduled to resume its Bogotá-Havana flights starting July 2, and Arajet has applied to connect Havana with its hub in Santo Domingo.

© CubaHeadlines 2024

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