Increased Accessibility: Air China Resumes Flights To Havana Cuba

Increased Accessibility: Air China Resumes Flights To Havana Cuba
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Fecha de publicación: 
23 April 2024
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Cuban Ambassador to China Alberto Blanco Silva announced on social media platform X on April 10th that he had a "fruitful meeting" with Song Zhiyong, Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) administrator, in Beijing on the same day. As a result of the meeting, Air China will resume scheduled commercial flights between China and Cuba on May 17th.

 

On April 23rd, Air China held a press conference in Beijing regarding the new and resumed international flight routes for 2024, confirming this announcement. According to the information released by Air China, the airline will resume flights from Beijing to Havana starting on May 17th. This route will be the sole air link between China and Cuba, with Air China planning to operate it using the Boeing 787-9, with two weekly flights.

Same route with different stopover point

It is worth noting that Air China has chosen Madrid, Spain, as the stopover point for this resumption of service to Havana. In contrast, when Air China first launched the Beijing to Havana route in 2015, the stopover point was Montreal, Canada.

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Photo: Great Circle Mapper

This change means that Chinese tourists traveling to Cuba will no longer face any visa restrictions. Previously, although Cuba had a visa-free policy for Chinese citizens, Chinese travelers still faced some barriers because they needed a Canadian visa for layovers in Canada. With the new stopover point in Madrid, Chinese travelers do not need to apply for a Schengen visa if they are only transiting. Therefore, with the change in the stopover point, Chinese tourists can truly enjoy hassle-free travel to Cuba.

Choosing a new stopover point also has its drawbacks. Compared to the total flight distance with a layover in Montreal (8,133 nautical miles), the new route with a layover in Madrid will increase the total flight distance by 27.6% (10,378 nautical miles).

Cuba strongly looks forward to the resumption

Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero visited China last November and met with the top Chinese leadership, indicating the close relationship between the two countries. During his visit, Marrero even uncommonly presented Cuba's tourism resources and investment opportunities to the Chinese public at a tourism promotion forum held at the Cuban Embassy in China.

 

At the forum, the Cuban Prime Minister mentioned that direct flights between China and Cuba would resume in 2024, expressing his anticipation for the resumption. He said,

"If it were up to me, I would love to take a direct flight to Havana from China tomorrow."

Marrero also expressed his hope to see a record-breaking number of Chinese tourists visiting Cuba after resuming flights. The current record stands at approximately 50,000 visitors in 2018.

As another friendly country to Cuba, Russia's Rossiya Airlines resumed flights to the capital of Cuba, Havana, from its Moscow Sheremetyevo base on December 24 with a Boeing 777 aircraft.

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