Delta resumed scheduled airline flights to Cuba on Dec. 1, a key milestone in the U.S. opening to Cuba. The launch of the Atlanta-Havana route will open up the market for local travel to Cuba. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM

Delta says Miami-Havana flights perform well, Atlanta, others struggle

Delta Air Lines’ flights to Havana, Cuba from Atlanta have been about half full during slow periods of the year.

The airline’s Havana flights from New York have done worse, operating less than 44 percent full in September and October.

But Delta’s planes on its Miami-Havana route have remained more than 70 percent full even during slower periods, since the carrier launched service to Cuba about a year ago.

That’s why Atlanta-based Delta wants to significantly reduce its New York-Havana flying, while increasing its flights from Miami to Havana, according to filings with the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Delta has not announced any changes to its Atlanta-Havana route.

Other airlines have struggled to fill their flights to Cuba, and have cut back on flights. The Trump administration has tightened restrictions on travel to Cuba, rolling back some changes made under the Obama administration.

Delta said earlier this month that regulatory changes have lowered demand for travel to Cuba from areas outside of South Florida, and it plans to switch from daily to weekly flights from New York to Havana starting Feb. 1, 2018.

In a Dec. 22 filing, Delta reiterated that adding a second daily flight from Miami to Havana would add service from the largest local source of demand for U.S.-Cuba traffic and said it would “also build on the significant amount of investments made by Delta in its [Havana] operations and service from South Florida.”

Because Delta said it would reduce its New York-Havana flights and those slots will be available, the DOT is allowing other airlines to apply to add service to Cuba.


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AJC business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi keeps you updated on the latest news about Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Delta Air Lines and the airline industry in metro Atlanta and beyond. You'll find more on myAJC.com, including these stories:

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