Travel Alerts

Most Flights To Cuba Suspended by US State Department

Air Travel to Cuba further restricted by US State Department

map of Cuba

The US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo announced on his Twitter account, “I have asked the Department of Transportation to suspend all public charter flights to Cuba, except Havana, and firmly limit public charters to Havana.’ 

This Tweet was published on January 10, 2020, and was clarified in a follow-on press statement by Secretary Pompeo, which says ‘Today, at my request, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) suspended until further notice all public charter flights between the United States and Cuban destinations other than Havana’s José Martí International Airport.’ 

‘Nine Cuban airports currently receiving U.S. public charter flights will be affected. Public charter flight operators will have a 60-day wind-down period to discontinue all affected flights.’ 

‘Also, at my request, the DOT will impose an appropriate cap on the number of permitted public charter flights to José Martí International Airport. DOT will issue an order in the near future proposing procedures for implementing the cap.’

Today’s announcement was preceded by previous travel notices issued by the US government regarding visiting the Republic of Cuba, such as the following:

  • January 6, 2020 - The US Embassy in Havana issued a Security Alert which says ‘There is heightened tension in the Middle East that may result in security risks to U.S. citizens abroad. The Embassy will continue to review the security situation and will provide additional information as needed.’
  • December 10, 2019 - the United States banned commercial flights of national airlines (except for charter), from its territory to all the cities of Cuba with the exception of Havana. The measure included American, Delta, and JetBlue airline flights to Santiago de Cuba, Camaguey, Varadero, and six other Cuban cities.
  • November 21, 2019 – The US Department of State published an update to its Level 2 Travel Advisory for the Republic of Cuba related to ‘debilitating injuries incurred by the US diplomatic community while visiting Cuba’
  • July 26, 2019 - List of Restricted Entities and Subentities Associated With Cuba. 

Previously, the US State Department said on November 21, 2019, ‘if you decide to travel to Cuba, consider the following suggestions, which are:

  • Avoid the Hotel Nacional and Hotel Capri.
  • If you experience any acute auditory or sensory phenomena, immediately move to another area. 
  • Know where to seek medical care in Cuba.
  • Consult with a medical professional prior to traveling if you have personal health concerns or upon return, if you believe you have suffered symptoms similar to those listed above.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations.
  • The current embassy is located at Calzada between L & M Streets, Vedado, Havana, Cuba. The local phone: (53)(7) 839-4100.

The United States initially established diplomatic relations with the Republic of Cuba in 1902, opening the first U.S. Embassy in Havana in 1923. 

The Republic of Cuba has a population exceeding 11 million residents and comprises the island of Cuba, as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos. Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean meet.

Regarding health risks, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its Travel Advice when visiting Cuba on March 29, 2019. 

The CDC encourages future visitors to Cuba to ensure their Routine Vaccinations, including for the measles virus, are up to date. Cuba is included in the CDC’s global measles Level 1 Travel Alert, which was updated on January 3, 2020. 

Travel health and vaccine news are published by Vax-Before-Travel.