Cubana de Aviación


Cubana de Aviación
Cubana de Aviación
IATA
CU
ICAO
CUB
Callsign
CUBANA
Founded 8 October 1929
Hubs
Focus cities
Airport lounge Club Tropical Lounge
Fleet size 20 (+3 orders) incl. cargo
Destinations 35
Company slogan Puerta de Cuba al Mundo
"Cuba's Gateway to the World"
Parent company Corporación de la Aviación Civil S.A. (CACSA)
Headquarters Havana, Cuba
Key people Arturo Bada Álvarez (CEO)
Website www.cubana.cu

Cubana de Aviación S.A., commonly known as Cubana, is Cuba's largest airline and flag carrier. The airline was founded on 8 October 1929, and has its corporate headquarters in Havana.[1] Its main base is at José Martí International Airport. It was a founder and is a current member of the International Air Transport Association[2] (IATA), the International Association of Aeronautical Telecommunications[3] (SITA) and the International Association of Latin American Air Transportation[3] (AITAL).

Originally a subsidiary of Pan American World Airways (PANAM) and later a private company owned by Cuban investors, Cubana has been wholly owned by the Cuban government since May 1959 and celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2009. The airline has 32 international representatives and 13 offices in Cuba, and its current official name is Cubana de Aviación S.A. It was the first airline of The Americas to operate Russian aircraft.

Contents

History

Cubana Il-96 in Madrid, Spain
A new TU-204

Cubana was established on 8 October 1929 as Compañía Nacional Cubana de Aviación Curtiss, indicating its association with the Curtiss Robin aircraft manufacturing company. It was one of the earliest airlines to emerge in Latin America. Pan American Airways (then known as Pan American Airways System or PAA) acquired Cubana in 1932, and the word Curtiss was deleted from the airline's name. Cubana therefore became a subsidiary of Pan American Airways. In 1944, the first International Conference on Civil Aviation was convened, which later would lead to the creation of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO, currently based in Montreal, Canada). Cuba was a participant in this conference and a founding member of ICAO. In April 1945, the conference that created the International Air Transport Association (IATA) was held in Havana. Cubana became a founding member of IATA, and participated in the creation of that organization through its involvement with the Havana conference and the resulting accords. Both conferences and the organizations they spawned helped establish Cubana as an internationally recognized airline company.

In May 1945 Cubana started its first scheduled international flights to Miami, using Douglas DC-3 aircraft. Cubana was the first Latin American airline to establish scheduled services to Miami. In April 1948, a transatlantic route was started between Havana and Madrid (via Bermuda, the Azores and Lisbon) using Douglas DC-4 aircraft. The Madrid route was extended to Rome in 1950. The new route to Europe made Cubana one of the earliest Latin American carriers to establish scheduled transatlantic service.

Cubana Bristol Britannia 318 at Lima Airport, Peru, in 1972

In May 1959, the revolutionary government decided to take over Cubana, expropriating all the airline's private investors without compensation. The private passenger airline Aerovías Q and private cargo carriers Cuba Aeropostal and Expreso Aéreo Interamericano, were then merged into Cubana. Despite these problems, in 1961 Cubana expanded its scheduled transatlantic services to Prague (apart from its existing Madrid route) using its Bristol Britannia jet-props. Cubana then ceded one of its Britannias to Czechoslovak Airlines (CSA) so that it could start its own Prague-Havana flights, in cooperation with Cubana's services on that route. Cubana's crews trained CSA personnel in the operation of the Britannias. This allowed CSA to establish its first-ever scheduled transatlantic service in 1962.

With the U.S. breaking relations (in 1961) and the imposition of the U.S. embargo on Cuba (in 1962), Cubana turned to the Soviet Union to obtain new aircraft. Cubana's cooperation made it possible for Aeroflot to establish 18-hour non-stop scheduled services between Moscow and Havana in 1963 which were the longest non-stop flights in the world at that time. Cooperation with the East German airline Interflug made it possible for this carrier to establish its first scheduled transatlantic services, linking East Berlin with Havana.

In the late 1970s, Cuba began operating its own long distance passenger jet services using the Ilyushin Il-62 (first flight in 1963, range of 10,300 km). The Il-62 had been the first plane to be put into long distance jet service by a number of other countries. Cubana operated 28 examples of this airliner between 1979 and 2011, including 11 early version Il-62s and 17 later model Il-62Ms, of which it owned 19 outright, the remaining nine leased either from Aeroflot or the Romanian national airline Tarom. After the 1990s, spare parts for Cubana's Soviet era aircraft became increasingly harder to source. Limited financial resources and lack of Western financing to replace these aircraft coupled with restrictions imposed by the U.S. embargo on the sale of American-built aircraft and components (engines and avionics) made it necessary to keep the Il-62Ms and other Soviet era planes in service despite their age. In the early 2000s Cubana refurbished some of its old Il-62/Il-62Ms to use on international routes (the last two were retired in March 2011) and in 2004, it embarked upon a long-term renovation. The strategy is based on the purchase of $100 million a year in new generation Russian-built aircraft until 2012.[4] By 2012 Cubana will completely replace its old Soviet era aircraft with new generation Russian airliners. As part of its renovation strategy, Cubana has sought to upgrade its technical support capabilities. The airline established a joint venture company with Iberia Airlines of Spain in 2005, to maintain and overhaul Western-built aircraft, including all Airbus and Boeing models. Between 2000 and 2009 Cubana operated services to Iraq but these have since been cancelled. Cubana used to operate services to Asia which was the Latin American airlines to fly normally to Asia. Later, Aeroméxico started services to Narita International Airport in Japan from Tijuana and Mexico City.

Ilyushin Il-96 economy class interior

In December 2005, Cubana received its first Ilyushin Il-96-300, registered CU-T1250. The aircraft made its first official flight in January 2006, covering the Havana - Buenos Aires route. The second Il-96 was received in March 2006 and a confirmation was signed for two additional ones, an Il-96 of the last two orders was received in 2007 and the remaining one is yet to be delivered. Three Tupolev Tu-204 were also ordered in 2006, two passenger version and one cargo version for Cubana Cargo. The Tupolev Tu-204 cargo-version was delivered in August 2007. During the August 2007 MAKS Airshow Cubana signed a $150 million contract for the purchase and confirmation of 2 Tupolev Tu-204 and 3 Antonov An-148 aircraft, to be delivered between 2008 and 2011 and becoming one of the Antonov An-148 launch customers.[5] More orders for new aircraft will be made over the next 7 years until the conclusion of the Russian-Cuban aviation agreements signed in 2006.

Destinations

Cubana operates flights to over 30 destinations in Cuba, Europe, the Caribbean, North, Central and South America.

Codeshare agreements

At July 2011, Cubana has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:

Fleet

The Cubana fleet includes the following aircraft (as of 14 December 2009):[6][7][8][9]

Cubana de Aviación Fleet
Aircraft Total Orders Passengers Notes
J Y Total
Boeing 737-400 2 158 158 leased from Flair Airlines
Antonov An-148 3 N/a
Antonov An-24RV 2 48 48 Replacement aircraft: Antonov 148
ATR 42-500 1 N/a Operated by Aerogaviota
Ilyushin Il-96-300 3 18 244 262 CU-T1250, CU-T1251, CU-T1254
Tupolev Tu-204-100E 2 12 212 224 CU-T1701, CU-T1702
Tupolev Tu-204-100CE (Cargo) 2 CU-C1700, CU-C1703[10]
Yakovlev Yak-42D 5[11] 120 120 CU-T1704, CU-T1272, CU-T1279
CU-T1705, CU-T1255, CU-T1247 [12]
Total 17 3

*Business Class is not offered on some short haul flights.

See also

References

External links

Portal icon Cuba portal
Portal icon Aviation portal
Portal icon Companies portal

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