Interesting news coming out tonight, which is that JFI Jets, a California-base charter air carrier, has received clearance from the federal government to fly to Havana Cuba from various airports across the country. One of the airports that JFI Jets can fly out of to Cuba includes New Castle Airport, and this is even though the people in Delaware cannot get a direct flight commercially in the state.
President David J. Rimmer, although not available for comment on Monday, is going to be the person answering the questions about the flights according to a JFI Jets employee. There are not that many private charter carriers that have the certifications needed in order to fly to Cuba, and there are even less charter carriers that have the knowledge and contacts necessary to execute the trip without incident. Rimmer did post on the company’s website that JFI Jets has both the local knowledge and contacts and the certifications needed in order to make the flight to Cuba. There will be multiple locations in California where you can lease the charter jet as well as flights coming out of New Castle County, Long Island, and New York. Rimmer has said that the round-trip price from Long Island to Cuba for a nine-seat jet will be about $40,000 so this is something that is not for people who are living paycheck-to-paycheck, but would be good for a group or business or simply for the people who have the financial means to lease the jet round-trip.
In the 2010 United States Census, there were about 1,440 people living in Delaware that had identified as Cuban-American, so this will be good for those who would like to travel to the country to see family or friends. JFI Jets actually just flew the first charter flight to Cuba within the last month, and another flight is going to be heading toward Cuba in September, although nothing was announced whether there would be any connections going through Delaware. The only issue is that even though JFI Jets has the approval and contacts to land in Cuba, all American citizens still have to abide by all federal restrictions when they travel to Cuba. This means that technically speaking, the rules forbid the travel to Cuba for tourism. This comes even though President Barack Obama back in January had expanded out the categories of authorized travel to allow for Americans to visit Cuba more easily. Now, Americans are legally allowed to travel into Cuba in groups if they are able to show that the trip is for a family visit, educational activities, research, humanitarian efforts, and a few other reasons. Some good news is that the regulations have now become relaxed enough that the travel companies are reportedly arranging trips that will meet the new requirements, which is a good sign when it comes to the relations between America and Cuba.
Just this summer, JetBlue was the first airline to fly directly from New York to Havana Cuba, and American Airlines is going to start a charter flight from Los Angeles, California, to Cuba in December. There is also a proposal from cruise lines in the United States to also start bringing Americans over to Cuba for “educational” tours. In terms of what the new flights will do for New Castle Airport, it probably won’t have much of an economic impact, but it is good news because Frontier Airlines left in June and there has been a gap for the airport since. Frontier Airlines was the last commercial airline service in the state, so that meant Delaware was the only state where there was not a direct commercial airline available. At this time, it is not known how many flights will be going out of New Castle Airport each day or week in terms of going to Cuba, and it is also not known how many locations are in California or how often those flights will be leaving for Cuba. Since this is a jet that you can lease, there is likely to be a pretty decent availability since the cost of going to Cuba is fairly significant. The California locations likely are to be the ones that end up filling up the quickest, since there are a lot of wealthy people such as actors who live there and would travel to Cuba for business or to visit family.