Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Southwest Airlines could ‘be flying into Cuba this year,’ CEO Gary Kelly says

Southwest Airlines could 'be flying into Cuba this year,' CEO Gary Kelly
Conor Shine Follow @Conor_Shine Email cshine@dallasnews.com
Published: February 22, 2016 10:56 am

Southwest Airlines could begin flying to Cuba later this year after CEO
Gary Kelly on Monday gave the strongest sign yet that the Dallas-based
company will compete for newly opened routes at the island nation's
10 airports.
Southwest Airlines details international plans for Houston Hobby Airport
In a message to employees, Kelly said Southwest "in all likelihood"
would apply to fly in and out of Cuba on new routes opened under a
historic commercial air travel agreement reached last week by U.S. and
Cuban officials.

"If we don't get our foot in the door now, we might miss the opportunity
to serve Cuba for a long time," Kelly said. "We are very prepared to
consider this opportunity and may very well be flying to Cuba in 2016."

Kelly's comments come a week after a Southwest spokesman said the
company would be "actively involved" in the application process.

Other major U.S. carriers, including American Airlines, have already
indicated they plan to submit applications to provide commercial air
travel to Cuba by the March 2 deadline.

The most fiercely contested spots will be at Havana's international
airport, which is limited to 20 daily slots. Ten daily slots will also
be available at each of nine smaller Cuban airports.

Southwest has been rapidly expanding its service to international
destinations in the Caribbean over the last year, including the addition
of routes from Houston's Hobby Airport to Belize, Costa Rica, Jamaica
and four Mexican cities. The company is barred by federal law from
offering nonstop international service out of Dallas's Love Field.

Source: Southwest Airlines could 'be flying into Cuba this year,' CEO
Gary Kelly says | | Dallas Morning News -

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