Spirit Airlines became the first US carrier to operate the Airbus A320neo when it took delivery of N901NK (c/n 6833) on October 7. Spirit has 55 A320neo Family aircraft on order, five leased from AerCap and 50 ordered directly from the manufacturer. All of the airline’s neos will be powered by Pratt & Whitney Pure Power PW1100-JM engines.
Twelve days later Denver-based Frontier Airlines received its first Airbus A320neo, N301FR (c/n 7141). The jet, powered by CFM International LEAP-1A engines, is the first of 80 examples due to join the carrier. “We’re excited to receive our first A320neo,” said Barry Biffle, President and CEO – Frontier Airlines. “The efficiency of the A320neo will help us lower costs even more and pass those savings along to our customers.”
The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has revealed the six domestic airlines that will launch scheduled flights to Cuba starting this autumn. The announcement, made on June 10, disclosed that American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Silver Airways, Southwest Airlines and Sun County Airlines have all been granted licenses to fly to the Caribbean nation. This is the latest stage in the Obama Administration’s efforts to normalise relations with Cuba and follows the signing of a non-legally-binding arrangement to re-establish scheduled air services between the two countries signed by Anthony Foxx, US Transport Secretary, and Charles Rivkin the Department of State’s Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs in February.
Foxx commented: “Last year, President Obama announced that it was time to ‘begin a new journey’ with the Cuban people. Today, we are delivering on his promise by re-launching scheduled air services to Cuba after more than half a century.”
Under the agreement, each country has the opportunity to operate up to ten daily return flights between the five US cities of Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, Philadelphia and Minneapolis/St Paul to each of Cuba’s nine international airports, other than Havana. In the longer term, the deal also provides up to 20 daily rotations between the US and the Cuban capital. According to DOT figures, US carriers have requested nearly 60 flights per day to Havana, thus requiring the agency to select from among the many proposals. It says a decision on the Havana routes will be announced later this summer.