DOT Reports 2.2 Million Airline Passengers To Cuba Aboard 13,479 Flights Since August 2016

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) of the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) in Washington DC has reported data for regularly-scheduled commercial flights from the United States to the Republic of Cuba. 

On 16 March 2016, the United States Department of Transportation signed a Bilateral Arrangement, not an agreement or treaty, to re-establish scheduled air services between the United States and the Republic of Cuba.  According to the USDOT: “The signing brings into effect the arrangement that was reached December 16, 2015.  This arrangement will continue to allow charter flight operations.  While U.S. law prohibits travel to Cuba for tourist activities, this arrangement will facilitate authorized travel, enhance traveler choices, and strengthen people-to-people links between the two countries.  Scheduled services are expected to commence sometime later this year.  Expanding authorized travel is a critical focus of President Obama’s approach to Cuba policy, which emphasizes engagement with the Cuban people.” 

Link To Document: 

The first regularly-scheduled commercial flight under provisions of the Arrangement occurred on 31 August 2016.   

Since the first flight, 2,203,490 passengers have traveled to the Republic of Cuba aboard 13,479 flights. 

2016: 2,036 flights carrying 177,365 passengers.

2017: 1,422 flights carrying 989,280 passengers.

2018: 8,505 flights carrying 893,011 passengers.

2019: (January and February) 1,516 flights carrying 143,834 passengers. 

The Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Cuba (MINTUR) reported 585,600 individuals of Cuban descent visited in 2018, with most arriving from the United States.  The majority of these visitors reside with relatives rather than occupying hotels. 

MINTUR reported that in 2018 seventeen (17) cruise lines delivered approximately 800,000 passengers to the Republic of Cuba compared to 619,000 in 2017 and 541,000 in 2016.  Media reporting has 6,770 passengers in 2012, 37,513(9) passengers in 2015, 397,520 passengers in 2017 and 500,000 passengers in 2018. 

MINTUR reported total international visitor arrivals of 4.75 million in 2018 compared to 4.5 million in 2017.