On 1 November 2017, Eagan, Minnesota-based Sun Country Airlines has returned its Republic of Cuba flight allocations to the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) due to continuing uncertain market demand:
Application of MN Airlines, LLC d/b/a SUN COUNTRY AIRLINES
For an exemption pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 40109 to provide scheduled service Between the United States and Cuba and Order 2016-2-12 for allocation of newly available Frequencies between the United States and Cuba:
November 1, 2017
MOTION OF MN AIRLINES, LLC D/B/A SUN COUNTRY AIRLINES FOR RETURN OF FREQUENCY ALLOCATION
MN Airlines, LLC d/b/a Sun Country Airlines (Sun Country), moves to return the Cuba frequency allocation in Order 2016-6-5 dated June 10, 2016, which granted Sun Country's application for (1) once-weekly service (i.e., Saturdays) between Minneapolis/St. Paul and Matanzas and (2) once-weekly service (i.e., Sundays) between Minneapolis/St. Paul and Santa Clara. On January 11, 2017, Sun Country was granted approval of a waiver of the 90-day start up condition placed on the two U.S. - Cuba frequencies awarded to Sun Country in order to allow Sun Country to commence new U.S. - Cuba service using these frequencies on or before the 2017 - 2018 winter traffic season or December 17, 2017. Such a waiver was necessary to give Sun Country additional time to examine and mitigate barriers still in place due to the current
trade embargo between the US and Cuba, and further to more thoroughly evaluate the market opportunities in Cuba, establish procedures and arrange contracts with key vendors.
Regrettably, the market demand remains uncertain and there is still a lack of clarity surrounding travel restrictions; therefore Sun Country does not desire to retain the granted frequency allocations for Saturday-only Minneapolis/St. Paul - Matanzas and Sunday-only Minneapolis/St. Paul -Santa Clara.
WHEREFORE, Sun Country requests DOT to accept the return of Sun Country's Cuba frequency allocations effective immediately and grant such other relief as the Department deems necessary and appropriate.
Established in 1994, the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council provides an efficient and sustainable educational structure in which the United States business community may access accurate, consistent, and timely information and analysis on matters and issues of interest regarding United States-Republic of Cuba commercial, economic, and political relations.