CHICAGO, July 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- This fall, United Airlines customers will have a historic opportunity to board one of the first commercial flights to Havana, Cuba in more than a half century. On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) tentatively awarded the airline nonstop flights to the Cuban capital from its global gateways in New York/Newark and Houston. By providing access from key, geographically diverse locations across the U.S., United's newly awarded routes will help ensure better choice, convenience and competition for travelers between the United States and Cuba.
"These flights open the door to a new world of travel and opportunities for our customers," said Oscar Munoz, United's president and CEO. "We are proud of the important and historic role our airline will play in connecting the U.S. and Cuba, as commercial air travel takes flight between these countries for the first time in more than 50 years."
United expects to begin its first flight to Cuba from New York/Newark and Houston later this year, which would make it one of the first U.S. airlines to provide commercial service to Havana – and the first airline to offer U.S.-Havana service from outside Florida.
Daily nonstop service from New York/Newark (EWR)
United's daily nonstop flight from Newark Liberty International Airport will provide unique value in serving the New York City/Newark region, the largest metropolitan area in the country and home to the second-largest population of Cuban Americans. For more than 20 years, United has offered the New York City/Newark region the most flights to the most destinations around the world.
"Today is an exciting day for people who want the opportunity and better options to visit Cuba," said Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka. "Newark will benefit greatly from United's new competition in the U.S.-Cuba market, which will spur economic activity and job creation in our area. United service enables the nearly 80,000 Cuban Americans living in New Jersey – along with many more Americans throughout the largest metropolitan area in the country – new travel choices and business development opportunities. I thank Secretary Foxx and the DOT for recognizing the value of this route, and want to also thank United Airlines for supporting Newark as a gateway to Cuba."
Saturday nonstop service from Houston (IAH)
Recognized by "Trusted Traveler Network" as one of the most international-friendly points of entry for foreign travelers, Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport is United's gateway to Latin America. United offers 91 daily nonstop flights to 52 destinations across Latin America and the Caribbean from its Houston hub. 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 among the top ten cities in the country.
"Secretary Anthony Foxx and the U.S. Department of Transportation made an outstanding decision by approving United Airline's application for Saturday service between Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport and Havana's Jose Marti international Airport," said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. "Secretary Foxx and United both recognized the very signiﬁcant economic and consumer benefits these flights to Cuba will bring to Houston-area residents, travelers, businesses and entrepreneurs. While there are nearly 20,000 Cuban Americans in Houston alone, United's service will also connect communities across the central and western U.S. Again, I would like to thank Secretary Foxx and United Airlines for making our great city one of the first new gateways to Cuba."
A Strong History of New Market Operations
United has a long and rich history of successfully starting new operations in airports around the world. In the last four months, United has started service from its San Francisco gateway hub to Tel Aviv, Israel; Xi'an, China; Singapore; Auckland, New Zealand and will launch new service to Hangzhou, China on July 13.
United's global route network offers customers convenient connection opportunities to Havana from virtually every major city in the U.S. The airline has a proven track record for launching new international service in the Caribbean. United currently operates 231 weekly flights to 19 points throughout the Caribbean region.
United Airlines and United Express operate an average of nearly 5,000 flights a day to 336 airports across six continents. In 2015, United and United Express operated more than 1.5 million flights carrying more than 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 715 mainline aircraft, and this year, the airline anticipates taking delivery of 21 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 86,000 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.
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SOURCE United Airlines