Avianca Set To Scrap Cuba Due To US Sanctions

Avianca has confirmed that it will no longer be serving flights to Cuba. This news comes following the United States’ sanctions on the Caribbean island.

Avianca 787
Avianca is planning to halt all flights to Cuba. Photo: Star Alliance

Changes in motion

Flight Global reports that the airline’s financial situation requires it to take action in regards to the sanctions. Adrian Neuhauser, the chief financial officer of Colombia’s national carrier confirmed that the amendment will soon be in place. Currently, a daily flight runs between Bogota and Havana, usually operated by Avianca’s Airbus A320 family aircraft.

“You will see us shut down our flying into Cuba, unfortunately,” he said during a third-quarter earnings call, as reported by Flight Global.

As per the short statement, Avianca seems reluctant to drop the flights. However, its financial commitments have caused it to be caught up in cross-country jurisdiction.

Avianca N748AV A320
The Bogota to Havana route is usually conducted by the Airbus A320 family. Photo: Nathan Coats via Wikimedia Commons

What happened?

In May of this year, the majority shareholder of Avianca, Synergy, defaulted on a loan that was extended by United Airlines. As a result, a system was put in place that secured the loan against the company’s stake in Avianca. This means that the entity that owns the shared is incorporated in the state of Delaware. Therefore, it falls under the laws of the US.

The US government had started suspending flights to Cuba last month. The White House claimed that this was to force the stop money following into Cuba’s authorities. The nation’s government has been criticized by the US for its support for Nicolás Maduro, who is the disputed Venezuelan president.

Soon after the US government’s announcement, United announced that it was starting to suspend flights to the majority of Cuba’s airports. The first airline that is not based in the US to announce that it had been greatly impacted is Cubana. The carrier said that it had been forced to cancel flights to seven destinations amid the sanctions.

Avianca Boeing 787-8
Avianca is celebrating 100 years of operations this year. Photo: U-95 via Wikimedia Commons

Political sensitivities

Tensions across Latin America has had an impact on aviation across the region in the last few months. Last week, demonstrations at El Alto Airport due to presidential elections in Bolivia caused more concern for ICAO. Meanwhile, there were delays for flights operating at Santiago Airport because of riots in Chile. Subsequently, airlines will be keeping a close eye on the heated situation.

Nonetheless, Avianca will be hoping to keep diplomatic ties open as it gets ready to celebrate its 100th birthday this December. The carrier also confirms that the Lima-Havana flight operated by Avianca Peru will be dropped. However, this is stated to be due to poor performance.

Simple Flying reached out to Avianca for comment on its operational changes but had not heard back before publication. We will update the article with any further announcements?

What do you think of Avianca’s move to no longer serve flights to Cuba? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.