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Six airlines approved to open scheduled services from the U.S. to Cuba

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Air & Sea

As part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to normalize relations with Cuba, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has approved six domestic airlines to begin scheduled flights between Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis/St. Paul and Cuba as early as this fall.

“Last year, President Obama announced that it was time to ‘begin a new journey’ with the Cuban people,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Today, we are delivering on his promise by re-launching scheduled air service to Cuba after more than half a century.”

On February 16, 2016, Secretary Foxx and Department of State Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs Charles Rivkin signed a non-legally-binding arrangement to re-establish scheduled air service between the two countries. At the time of the signing, the administration announced that scheduled service would begin later in 2016.

The carriers receiving the awards are American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Silver Airways, Southwest Airlines, and Sun Country Airlines.

The five U.S. cities that will receive new scheduled service to Cuba are Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Philadelphia. The nine Cuban cities are Camagüey, Cayo Coco, Cayo Largo, Cienfuegos, Holguín, Manzanillo, Matanzas, Santa Clara, and Santiago de Cuba.

Under the new arrangement, each country has the opportunity to operate up to 10 daily roundtrip flights between the U.S. and each of Cuba’s nine international airports, other than Havana, for a total of 90 daily roundtrips. Longer term, the arrangement also provides for up to 20 daily roundtrip flights between the U.S. and Havana. Collectively, U.S. carriers have requested nearly 60 flights per day to Havana, thus requiring DOT to select from among the proposals. A decision on the Havana routes will be announced later this summer.

United Airlines begins San Francisco - Singapore nonstop service

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Air & Sea

United Airlines today launches the only nonstop flights between the United States and Singapore using the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to operate the service from the airline's San Francisco Pacific-gateway hub. The nonstop flights connecting the two financial and tech centers will save travelers up to four hours' journey time each way compared with one-stop service.

Measured by distance, the new route between San Francisco and Singapore is the longest scheduled 787 flight operated by any airline, and the longest scheduled flight operated by any U.S. carrier, at 8,446 miles.

"Our nonstop service between San Francisco and Singapore further enhances our already unprecedented trans-Pacific route network and builds an even stronger gateway to the Pacific from our San Francisco hub," said Jim Compton, United's vice chairman and chief revenue officer. "These flights will offer our customers unique nonstop convenience when traveling to Singapore from the West Coast, with dozens of one-stop options from other cities across the Americas, including more than 26 that did not have one-stop service to Singapore before."

"Singapore offers a unique Asian experience where distinct cultures – Chinese, Malay, Indian & Eurasian – come together to form a rich tapestry of diverse experiences," said Kershing Goh, regional director, Americas, Singapore Tourism Board. "Singapore is now more accessible than ever with United's nonstop flight, and its rapid progress as an innovative and forward-looking destination will leave visitors inspired by the possibilities of what's to come.

"From the moment they step off the plane, visitors will be awestruck by the futuristic cityscapes, enticed by the exotic smells of our ethnic cuisines, enchanted with the lush greenery and wowed by the unique spirit and soul of the Singaporean people. Singapore should be on every globetrotter's list of top destinations."

United Flight 1 will depart San Francisco at 10:55 p.m. daily, arriving at Singapore's Changi Airport at 6:15 a.m. two days later (all times local). On the return, Flight 2 will depart Singapore at 8:45 a.m. daily, arriving at San Francisco International Airport at 9:15 a.m. the same day. Flying times will be approximately 16 hours, 20 minutes westbound and 15 hours, 30 minutes eastbound.

MedCruise partners with Lufthansa Group to offer discounted travel to 48th MedCruise GA

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Air & Sea

As part of this partnership, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings, Lufthansa and SWISS agreed to offer discounted rates to all those traveling to Odessa for the 48th MedCruise General Assembly.

Lufthansa Group Partner Airlines offer a comprehensive global route network linking major cities around the world. In this context, they offer special prices and conditions to all GA participants, as well as their travel companions.

The 48th MedCruise General Assembly will take place 22-25 June 2016, in Odessa, Ukraine.

Costa Cruises partners with KLM on new Amsterdam-Genoa flights

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Air & Sea

Costa Cruises is taking full advantage of KLM’s new Genoa-Amsterdam flight, inaugurated last week at the Cristoforo Colombo Airport in Genoa.

In fact, the Italian company will use the daily flights KL 1564 from Genoa to Amsterdam and KL 1563 from Amsterdam to Genoa to bring its Dutch guests, but even Belgian and North European travellers thanks to connections with other airports, on cruises on board the flagship Costa Diadema and the Costa Fascinosa, with weekly departures from Savona on 7-day cruises to the western Mediterranean. The “flight&cruise” package being proposed is what Costa was the first to introduce already in 1968.

“We are delighted to be able to work together with such an excellent partner like the KLM Air France group. We are focusing on these new flights because they represent an excellent opportunity for us, allowing our Dutch guests to get to our ships with a convenient and high-quality service. Costa Cruises also confirms its leading role for the economy of Genoa, where it has been headquartered for 68 years, and of the entire Ligurian region. Thanks to these flights, we will increase our contribution to the growth in tourism in Liguria, where our ships generated a flow of 1.2 million cruise passengers in 2015, 60% of which came from abroad”. – declared Norbert Stiekema, Executive Vice President Sales & Marketing of Costa Cruises.

The Costa Diadema and the Costa Fascinosa will depart from Savona every Saturday throughout 2016. The Costa Diadema will visit destinations like Marseilles, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Civitavecchia/Rome and Cagliari from June to September, and Marseilles, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Civitavecchia/Rome and La Spezia the other months of the year. Instead, the Costa Fascinosa will offer a summer sea-and-fun itinerary that includes visits to Barcelona, Ibiza, where the ship will remain until late at night, Palma de Mallorca, Palermo and Naples; instead, in the spring, fall and winter she will visit Barcelona, Valencia, Palma de Mallorca, Palermo and Naples.

Delta to suspend New York-Istanbul service

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Air & Sea

Due to increased security concerns in Turkey, including a travel warning issued by the State Department, and weaker demand for air travel to this market, Delta has taken the decision to suspend its New York-JFK-Istanbul service due to start in May 2016. Customers can go to for more information on re-accommodations.

During the last few months several cruise lines have suspended their calls in Istanbul.