CHICAGO, March 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today submitted its latest filing to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for authority to begin commercial air service to Cuba from its global gateways in Newark/New York, Houston, Washington and Chicago to Havana's José Martí International Airport in Cuba. United's proposal for nonstop service to Havana from four of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas, home to some of the largest Cuban-American populations, would bring the most choice, convenience and competition for consumers.
"Customers benefit most when there's diversity of travel options across carriers and cities. The U.S. Department of Transportation has a tremendous opportunity to make convenient and accessible travel to Cuba available to customers across the United States," said Steve Morrissey, United's vice president of regulatory and policy affairs. "With a route network that offers the greatest number of flights in many of the largest U.S. cities, United is ideally positioned to maximize customer choice and access."
More than 15,000 customers, employees, elected officials and business leaders have sent letters to the DOT in support of United's proposal. The letters recognize that United's service will deliver significant customer choice, economic benefit and opportunity for cultural exchange to those communities and beyond.
Daily nonstop service from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
United's proposed daily nonstop flight from Newark Liberty International Airport would provide unique value in serving the Newark/New York City region, the largest metropolitan area in the country and home to the second-largest population of Cuban Americans.
"Newark and the metropolitan region would benefit from United's new competition in the U.S.-Cuba market," wrote Newark Mayor Ras Baraka in a letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx. "United's proposed service will spur economic activity and job creation in the greater Newark area and will enable the nearly 80,000 Cuban Americans living in New Jersey to gain new travel options and business development opportunities. This important market should not be held back from additional travel opportunities to and from Cuba."
For more than 20 years, United has offered the Newark/New York City region the most flights to the most destinations around the world.
Saturday nonstop service from Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport is United's gateway to Latin America. Rated as one of the most efficient points of entry for foreign travelers, United offers 91 daily nonstop flights to 52 destinations across Latin America and the Caribbean. Bush Intercontinental will be an important gateway for service to Havana and will directly connect 20 markets across the central and western United States to Cuba with just one stop. The Cuban-American population in the Houston metropolitan area ranks eighth nationally.
"Houston is often described as the most racially and ethnically diverse major city in the U.S. Almost one in four Houstonians was born outside of the country – many of whom are among the 2.3 million Houstonians that claim a Hispanic or Latino origin," wrote Bob Harvey, president and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership, in a letter to Secretary Foxx. "Houston is likely to emerge as a key gateway for U.S.-Cuban relations over time."
Saturday nonstop service from Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)
The Washington metropolitan area is home to the nation's tenth-largest Cuban-American population and to key political and economic organizations building the U.S.-Cuba relationship. United's service between Washington Dulles and Havana will link two international capitals with weekly nonstop service.
"United's Washington Dulles-Havana service would naturally provide an important link between capital cities, fostering this capital-to-capital connection between business, government and tourists," wrote Elliott L. Ferguson, II, president and CEO of Destination DC, in a letter to Secretary Foxx. "It will also serve a promising and growing export and diplomatic market."
Saturday nonstop service from Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD)
Chicago is home to the country's sixth-largest Cuban-American community. United, Chicago's hometown airline, offers nearly 500 daily flights from O'Hare, which the Airport Connectivity Quality Index noted for having the best connections to other U.S. airports, large and small.
"Specifically this new route from Chicago to Havana would provide us with far better and more competitive access to the rich cultural resources of Cuba," wrote Daniel J. Schmidt, president and CEO of WTTW and WFMT, in a letter to Secretary Foxx.
United Airlines and United Express operate an average of nearly 5,000 flights a day to 342 airports across six continents. In 2015, United and United Express operated nearly two million flights carrying 140 million customers. United is proud to have the world's most comprehensive route network, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. United operates more than 700 mainline aircraft, and this year, the airline anticipates taking delivery of 20 new Boeing aircraft, including 737 NGs, 787s and 777s. The airline is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 192 countries via 28 member airlines. Approximately 84,000 United employees reside in every U.S. state and in countries around the world. For more information, visit united.com, follow @United on Twitter or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United's parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol UAL.
SOURCE United Airlines