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California company launches Cuba flights

Posted by Elena del Valle on June 10, 2009

Michael Zuccato, General Manager of Cuba Travel Services, Inc.

Michael Zuccato, General Manager of Cuba Travel Services, Inc.

Photo: Cuba Travel Services

Cuba Travel Services, Inc., a Long Beach, California company owned by “a group of Los Angeles business people” will launch a non-stop weekly flight from Los Angeles to Havana, Cuba starting June 30, 2009. The inaugural flight is 50 percent sold as of this writing. Havana bound departures will be Tuesdays at 11 a.m. and returns to Los Angeles will be at 8:25 p.m. the same day.

The company will be utilizing aircraft operated by Continental Airlines with space for up to 150 passengers, 12 First Class and 138 Coach. The five-hour flights will cost $889 and include up to 60 pounds of Licensed Passenger Check Baggage. First Class tickets will cost $1,395.

“We are excited to resume the non-stop flights out of LAX to Havana that were in such high demand prior to the Bush Administration’s restrictions imposed on Cuban Americans that limited their ability to visit with their families in Cuba,” said Michael Zuccato, general manager of Cuba Travel Services, Inc.

Company executives expect the recent policy changes allowing easier travel to Cuba for Cuban Americans brought on by the Obama Administration will drive demand for travel to the island from the West Coast. Cuba Travel Services, Inc. also hopes to serve the travel needs of journalists, government officials and researchers that qualify under a general license; and sports teams, religious organizations, educational facilities and other organizations or individuals who qualify for and are issued a specific license to travel.

Cuba Travel Services, Inc. has been offering direct charter flights from Los Angeles to Havana since 2000. According to the data supplied by them, in 2003, the United States ranked eighth in visitors per country of origin to Cuba with 84,529 visitors; by 2005 only 37,233 travelers were visiting the island.

Cuba Travel Services Inc. was formed to “facilitate a better understanding between the U.S and Cuba” by providing flights to U.S. citizens who qualify under the current U.S. Treasury regulations. Cuba Travel Services Inc has offices in Doral and Hialeah, Florida and Hato Rey, Puerto Rico. The company has more than 20 employees.

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