Posted on Friday, 07.20.12
Airline Brokers seeks to fly to 3rd Cuban city
By Juan O. Tamayo
Airline Brokers, a Miami company that charters flights to Cuba, said
Thursday it has asked for U.S. Department of Transportation approval to
put on the first flights from South Florida to the central city of Santa
Company president Vivian Mannerud said she expects the route will be
popular because Cubans from the region between Santa Clara and Havana,
82 miles to the west, make up the bulk of the migrants to South Florida
over the past 15 years.
The company already charters seven flights a week to Cuba, leaving from
both Miami and Ft. Lauderdale international airports and landing in
Havana and Cienfuegos, on the island's south-central coast, Mannerud added.
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration, which must approve U.S.
air routes, recently approved flights to Santa Clara, a city of 250,000,
and Manzanillo, with about 130,000 people on Cuba's southeastern coast.
Airline Brokers does not plan to apply for a Department of
Transportation permit to fly to Manzanillo because of the demographics,
Mannerud said, and not because of the recent outbreak of cholera in that
Cuban government officials have reported three cholera deaths and 186
confirmed cases since late June, but dissidents have said the true
numbers are far higher.
All U.S. flights to Cuba are chartered, by eight U.S. companies, because
the U.S. embargo does not allow regular commercial flights. The flights
require Department of Transportation approvals.