Alaska wins OK to fly Seattle-L.A.-Havana route

Image: Cuban and U.S. flags
A woman in Miami flies Cuban and U.S. flags. (Credit: U.S. State Dept.)

The U.S. Department of Transportation today gave its tentative go-ahead for Alaska Airlines to fly between Los Angeles and Havana, the capital of Cuba, with extended service between L.A. and Seattle, the airline’s hometown.

Alaska said the Cuba-bound flights would be operated with a Boeing 737-900ER aircraft, capable of carrying 181 passengers. Each daily flight would begin in Seattle, then stop over in Los Angeles, with same-plane service continuing to Havana. The return flight would retrace that route.

The route is among 20 slots in Havana that were made available to U.S. carriers this year when the federal government signed an agreement with Cuba to restore regular commercial air travel between the two countries, after a gap of more than 50 years.

A dozen U.S. airlines applied for the slots, proposing a total of nearly 60 flights a day. Alaska was among eight airlines that were awarded the 20 available round-trip flights. Alaska said it was the only airline that proposed daily nonstop service from Los Angeles to Havana.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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