Alaska Airlines became the first carrier to link the US West Coast with Cuba on 5 January when it launched daily flights between Los Angeles and Havana. To celebrate the inauguration, the US airport had a ribbon cutting ceremony. Among the VIPs to speak at the first flight was Ana Mari Cauce, American psychologist, college administrator and the 33rd and current president of the University of Washington, who originates from Havana.
On arrival in Havana a second ribbon cutting took place. Taking charge of proceedings in the Cuban capital were Joseph Sprague, SVP Communications and External Relations, Alaska Airlines, and Juan Carlos Quintana, GM Havana Airport.
- Alaska Airlines this week become the first carrier to link the US West Coast with Cuba, with the airline launching daily flights between Los Angeles (LAX) and Havana (HAV). Inaugurated on 5 January, the 3,698-kilometre sector will be flown by the airline on its 737-900s. With Alaska Airlines becoming the first airline to operate flights between the US West Coast and Cuba, it means that this airport pairing faces no direct competition. "We sometimes overlook the fact that air travel holds tremendous power to connect people and overcome boundaries," said Joe Sprague, Alaska Airlines SVP Communications and External Relations. "This new West Coast service is another historic step in opening up relations between our two countries and we're thrilled to host a delegation of trade, tourism and educational leaders to explore Cuba's capital city." Since the commencement of scheduled services between the US and Cuba in August, a total of 274 weekly flights now operate between the two nations across 24 routes served by nine carriers. Alaska Airlines' new Los Angeles – Havana service currently accounts for 3.3% of weekly seat capacity between the two nations. See how Havana Airport's FTWA compares to others from around the world.