Informacion economica sobre Cuba

CUBA’S QUIET BATTLE FOR AMERICAN AIRSPACE
By Barbara Sturken Peterson
THE DAILY DOSEMAR 03 2017

Flight CU188, a twin-jet Airbus A320 on its way from the Caribbean to
Canada, looks no different than the 5,000 other commercial planes flying
through U.S. airspace —except maybe for that red, white and blue livery
that looks straight out of the swingin’ ’60s. In fact, this flight is
anything but typical: Even in an emergency, the crew can’t land in the
U.S. If it did, there’s a good chance that local marshals would seize
the plane.

That’s because the Airbus flies for Cubana de Aviación, the official
airline of Cuba. The deal that the U.S. and Cuba brokered two years ago
to normalize relations should have sent the Caribbean carrier soaring
into the lucrative blue yonder of the American market. Instead, the
airline is being dragged down by lingering issues from the 60-year-old
trade embargo, including potential seizure of Cuban assets — like the
Airbus — to settle U.S. claims to recover assets confiscated by the
Castro regime. Meanwhile, in the past six months, Cubana has had to
watch from the sidelines as 10 U.S. carriers zip back and forth between
the two countries on about 40 daily round trips.

Additional turbulence may ground whatever plans Cubana has to tap into
its northern neighbor’s massive travel market and earn desperately
needed revenue and hard currency. In November then-president-elect Trump
tweeted: “If Cuba is unwilling to make a better deal for the Cuban
people, the Cuban/American people and the U.S. as a whole, I will
terminate [the] deal.”

The president may have been out of step with the American public. A Pew
Research survey released a few weeks after Trump’s tweet revealed that
75 percent of respondents approve of steps taken to restore relations
with Cuba. “The momentum among American travelers for unfettered access
to Cuba continues,” says Ninan Chacko, the CEO of Travel Leaders Group,
a consortium of high-end travel agencies.

When the U.S. and Cuba agreed to resume diplomatic relations in late
2014, air service was an integral part of the discussions. A longtime
State Department hand, who helped negotiate aviation treaties with
former foes like China, says “it’s almost unprecedented” that a country
wouldn’t want its state-owned airline to benefit from any increase in
air traffic. As a former official, the Foggy Bottom veteran spoke on
background, but confirmed that Cubana does in fact now have the right to
fly to the U.S.; however, the airline first wants the legal situation
clarified. (The Cuban embassy did not respond to requests for comment.)

Most U.S. business leaders believe that full trade and tourism
ultimately will resume, and that Cubana will become a customer for U.S.
companies, such as aerospace suppliers — avionics from Honeywell, jet
engines from General Electric and Pratt & Whitney and jets from Boeing.

Once dubbed the world’s most dangerous airline for a string of fatal
crashes decades ago, Cubana could use a serious upgrade. Although the
roughly 20-plane fleet includes a few leased Airbus jets, it consists
mainly of Russian-built Antonov, Ilyushin and Tupolev aircraft, a sort
of “Aeroflot of the Caribbean.” In safety matters, at least, its
performance has improved.

Certainly, other airlines have successfully shed their communist-era
reps. Vietnam Airlines is gunning to be the second-biggest full-service
airline in Southeast Asia with a fleet of Boeing Dreamliners and Airbus
A350s. For Cubana to pull off a similar Cinderella feat, it will need to
clean up its customer service act to go along with a new, improved
fleet. (It typically ranks near the bottom in customer surveys on
TripAdvisor and the U.K. review site Skytrax.) A cautionary tale:
China’s state-owned airlines had to give flight attendants “smiling
lessons” when the carriers began flying to the U.S. and other Western
destinations.

Source: Cuba’s Quiet Battle for American Airspace | Fast Forward | OZY –
www.ozy.com/fast-forward/cubas-quiet-battle-for-american-airspace/75517


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