Silver Airways and Frontier Airlines will halt flights to
Cuba due to inadequate demand, the carriers said on Monday.
Florida-based Silver, which flies to nine Cuban destinations
from Fort Lauderdale, will suspend those services on April 22. Frontier will
halt its Miami-Havana service on June 4.
"Costs in Havana to turn an aircraft significantly
exceeded our initial assumptions," Frontier spokesman Jim Faulkner wrote
in an email. He added that "market conditions have failed to materialize
Frontier launched the daily flight on Dec. 1.
Silver has been flying to Santa Clara, Camaguey, Cayo Coco,
Cayo Largo, Cienfuegos, Manzanillo, Varadero, Holguin and Santiago de Cuba
since the fall on 34-seat Saab 340B twin-propeller planes.
The carrier said Monday that passenger counts on all
airlines to Cuba are in line with what it had expected. But Silver criticized
competitors for operating large aircraft on secondary routes, indicating that excess
capacity prevented Silver from running its service profitably.
American, Southwest and JetBlue are among the carriers that
fly to secondary Cuban cities.
"It is not in the best interest of Silver and its team
members to behave in the same irrational manner as other airlines,"
spokeswoman Misty Pinson wrote. "However, Silver will continue to monitor
Cuba routes and will consider resuming service in the future if the commercial
Pinson also said that distribution through OTAs and
codeshare agreements has been unavailable since the commencement of service,
"Now, six months later, this issue is still not fully
resolved, resulting in depressed demand," she wrote.
Commercial air travel between the U.S. and Cuba resumed last
August for the first time since the onset of the U.S. trade embargo against the
island nation in the 1960s. Flights between the U.S. and Havana began in