Southwest has a history of stimulating new markets by offering low-fare competition; unfortunately, stimulating sufficient demand in some of our Cuba city-pairs has been very challenging, primarily due to the ongoing prohibition in U.S. law on tourism to Cuba for American citizens.
Though Cuba was a totally unexplored commercial air service market from the U.S. during the 46+ years Southwest has been operating, we’ve been looking hard at the data, reviewing and analyzing our performance in the three Cuba markets we have been serving over many months. Today, we are announcing that we will cease operations in both Varadero (VRA) and Santa Clara (SNU) at the conclusion of the summer travel season, with the final flights operating on the U.S. holiday that wraps-up Labor Day weekend.
So many Southwest Employees worked hard to put Cuba on our map and I want to thank each of them for a Herculean effort to open all three Cuba cities last year and to serve well our Customers traveling aboard those flights from Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Tampa International Airport.
We still are seeking additional service to Havana and have a pending application with the U.S. Department of Transportation for an additional daily roundtrip between Ft. Lauderdale and Havana, which would bring Southwest to four roundtrips daily between Florida and the Cuban capital.
We remain committed to serving travelers who choose the value that only Southwest’s Cuba service will continue to offer our Customers traveling to and from Havana.