Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Charter adding Tampa-Cuba flight

Charter adding Tampa-Cuba flight
By TED JACKOVICS | The Tampa Tribune
Published: June 19, 2012

Island Travel & Tours Ltd. soon will add a second round-trip flight
between Tampa and Havana, increasing weekly flights on three charter
services serving Tampa and Cuba from five to six a week.

The additional flight will be offered beginning July 4 and reflects both
the success for Tampa-Cuba flights that began in September after a
50-year hiatus and the strength of summer demand for travel to Cuba.

"For the next six weeks, we are totally booked," said Bill Hauf,
president of Island Travel & Tours, who opened a Tampa office on West
Columbus Drive to support the Cuba flights.

Hauf said Tampa-Havana flights have averaged 106 passengers on the
Boeing 737, which is normally configured for 142 passengers. Summer
advance sales are averaging more than 134 passengers, he said.

Cuban-Americans carrying extra bags with items in short supply in Cuba
sometimes restricts the numbers of seats that can be sold.

Hauf worked for more than three years with U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor and
the previous aviation authority administration to get Cuban and U.S.
government permission to launch Cuban charter flights from Tampa.

"Only Tampa and Fort Lauderdale have been successful in starting and
maintaining new Cuba charter flights," Hauf said, referring to the
January 2011 Obama administration policy to expand the number of
airports permitted to have flights to and from Cuba. Previously, flights
to Cuba had only been allowed from airports in Miami, New York and Los

In addition to Island Travel & Tours, Miami-based ABC Charters offers a
weekly flight between Tampa and Havana and a weekly flight between Tampa
and Holguin, which is on the eastern side of Cuba.


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