Archive

Uncertainty surrounds charter flights from Pittsburgh to Cuba | TribLIVE.com
Allegheny

Uncertainty surrounds charter flights from Pittsburgh to Cuba

Theresa Clift
ChoiceAire

Plans to launch charter service between Pittsburgh International Airport and Cuba are on hold indefinitely, a spokesman said Monday.

Miami-based Choice Aire planned to start offering twice-weekly charter flights to Cuba by the end of last year, but those flights never got off the ground. Pittsburgh airport spokesman Bob Kerlik said he doesn’t expect them to do so this year, if at all.

“Charter flights to Cuba are still a focus, and we will continue to work on that, whether it’s with Choice Aire or another carrier,” Kerlik told the Tribune-Review.

After airports nationwide began offering regularly scheduled flights to Cuba last year, demand for charter flights waned, Kerlik said. A scaling-back of regularly scheduled service, however, could increase demand for charter flights, he said.

The airport received federal approval in 2011 to offer nonstop flights to Cuba.

A one-time-only charter went from Pittsburgh to Cuba last month, Kerlik said. It was the first to travel to the communist country from the Findlay facility. That flight, through Eastern Air Lines, contained local business people, Kerlik said.

News that the Cuba charter flights were on hold came as a disappointment to the University of Pittsburgh’s Study Abroad Office, which sends about 25 students to Cuba each year.

“It shouldn’t affect our study-abroad plans. It would’ve just been more convenient,” Jeff Whitehead, the office’s director, said.

Students fly to Miami, Fort Lauderdale or New York to catch connecting flights to Cuba for one-week trips during spring break or six-week visits during the summer, Whitehead said.

The airport will begin receiving charter flights from China this year through a Chinese tourism company, it announced last week. It will launch regularly scheduled service to Iceland and Germany in June.

Theresa Clift is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-5669 or [email protected]

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.