Miami-based Havana Air says it will be become the first airline to offer real-time online booking for flights to Cuba when it launches its new booking engine January 1.
The move is the latest effort to claim market share in the burgeoning battle over air travel between the U.S. and Cuba, following an announcement last week that the two countries planned to resume regularly scheduled commercial flights.
Last week, American Airlines — which has long operated charters to Cuba – announced it had reached an agreement with the island governent to establish regular service, pending approval by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Silver Airways, JetBlue and United have also expressed interest in offering scheduled flights.
The flights bookable on Havana Air’s website, havanaair.com, will be the 85-plus charter flights the company currently operates each month. Travelers will also be able to handle all required authorization forms and purchase visas online, the company said.
Tourism by Americans to Cuba is not legal, but Americans traveling for one of 12 authorized purposes may visit the island without advance authorization from the U.S. government.