German tour company TUI (International Tourism Federation) It confirmed that, as of April 2024, it will stop providing direct flight service from Manchester to Varaderothe only option to travel to Cuba from the UK.
A spokesperson for TUI in the UK and Ireland told the trade publication Travel weekly Which He added: “We regularly review our flight schedule, and as a result, we will no longer operate flights to Cuba by summer 2024.”
“Customers who have booked will be contacted directly and offered a free change to another long-haul destination, with a 10% rebooking incentive or a full refund,” he added.
The company indicated this Winter 2023 flights to Cuba will continue to operate as planned.
This announcement would confirm the failure of the advertising campaigns of TUI, whose broadcast division in Spain announced in October 2022 a reduction in the prices of its reservations to Cuba during the winter of that year, with the aim of achieving growth in tourism to the island.
Later, last May, Another campaign was launched for the same purpose.
Matthew O’Sullivan, director of English-language firm Captivating Cuba, issued a statement to “reassure (and point out) travel agent colleagues and clients” Traveling to Cuba remains easy and attractive using a range of alternative flight options.”
The CEO commented that TUI had always been his “least used” airline in Cuba, so the majority of customers were not affected.
“Since we were notified that TUI had suspended the route to Varadero a few weeks ago, we have already rebooked affected customers on alternative routes,” he said.
“It is important to stress that there are still many flights to Cuba at competitive prices with convenient connection times and upgrade options.”He pointed to airlines such as Air France, Condor, Air Europa and Iberia, which codeshare with British Airways.
He also mentioned Air Canada, Air Transat and WestJet, which serve a variety of Cuban airports across Canada.
“We continue to receive an increasing influx of bookings for holidays in two centers with CubaIn addition to destinations that provide direct flights to the United Kingdom, such as Mexico, the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Bahamas.
The TUI Group is the largest group in the tourism sector worldwide and has a presence throughout the European Union. It owns travel agencies, hotels, airlines, cruise ships and tour operators. In addition, it is an important sea container shipping company, and is the fifth largest company in the world.
The news was learned only hours later by the airline Air Aruba, one of the companies that operates charter flights between Cuba and Nicaragua, will announce the suspension of this itinerary.
According to journalist Alexis Puentes, from the Spanish channel Telemundo 51, in Miami, “Air Aruba joins the suspension of flights between Cuba and Nicaragua. Only sold-out flights will be operated. Information is being circulated in groups dedicated to the sale of those tickets.”
Due to the doubts of one of the forum members in his country Facebook wall“I called the airline’s office in Miami and they confirmed that sales were suspended,” the reporter noted.
Aruba Airlines will be the second airline to suspend these flights after Dominican Airlines did the same. Since a week. This is a result of sanctions imposed by the United States on officials and executives of companies operating a route that served as a migration bridge for tens of thousands of people from the island.
Flights from Havana to Nicaragua, following the surprise visa exemption for island residents that took effect on November 22, 2021, were a means of departure for tens of thousands of Cubans who crossed Central America from that point to the Cubans’ southern border. United State.
This action has been interpreted with suspicion, given the alliance between the Havana and Managua regimes, because it occurred only four months after the outbreak of social discontent on July 11, 2021. Cuban authorities have used immigration as an escape valve for social discontent. for more than 60 years, allowing its citizens to leave for the United States.
Last August, independent Cuban media reported an increase in these flights. Thus, the Mexican airline Viva Aerobus increased the number of flights between Cuba and Nicaragua with a stop in Mérida, which rose from two weekly flights in July to seven flights that month. For its part, Venezuela’s Conviasa moved from three weekly frequencies in July to six in August.
Viva Aerobus also operates flights to the Central American country from Santa Clara, Camagüey and Holguin. Aeromexico does this with variable frequencies, with the latter stopping in Mexico City.
This was stated in a report issued by the Inter-American Dialogue, reported by Agence France-Presse An average of 50 charter flights per month were flown from Havana to Managua between January and October 2023.While these operations from Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, rose from 30 in August to 100 in September and 130 in October, before the local government suspended them.