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For the Russian airline see: Kuban Airlines.


Cubana de Aviación S.A., commonly known as Cubana, is Cubamarker's largest airline and flag carrier. The airline was founded on 8 October 1929, and has its corporate headquarters in Havanamarker, Cuba. Its main base is at José Martí International Airportmarker. It was a founder and is a current member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the International Association of Aeronautical Telecommunications (SITA) and the International Association of Latin American Air Transportation (AITAL). In 2009 the airline will be celebrating its 80th anniversary.

Cubana has 32 international representatives and thirteen offices in Cuba. Since May 1959, the airline has been wholly owned by the Cuban government and its current official name is Cubana de Aviación S.A. Prior to that time Cubana was a private company, owned by Cuban investors.

History

Cubana IL-96 departing Paris-Orly, France


Cubana was established on 8 October 1929 as Compañía Nacional Cubana de Aviación Curtiss, indicating its association with the Curtiss aircraft manufacturing company. It was one of the earliest airlines to emerge in Latin America. Pan American Airways (then known as Pan American Airways System or PAA) acquired Cubana in 1932, and the word Curtiss was deleted from the airline's name. Cubana therefore became a subsidiary of Pan American Airways. In 1944, the first International Conference on Civil Aviation was convened, which later would lead to the creation of the International Civil Aviation Organizationmarker (ICAO, currently based in Montrealmarker, Canadamarker). Cuba was a participant in this conference and a founding member of ICAO. In April 1945, the conference that created the International Air Transport Association (IATA) was held in Havana. Cubana became a founding member of IATA, and participated in the creation of that organization through its involvement with the Havana conference and the resulting accords. Both conferences and the organizations they spawned helped establish Cubana as an internationally recognized airline company.

In May 1945 Cubana started its first scheduled international flights, to Miamimarker using Douglas DC-3 aircraft. Cubana was the first Latin American airline to establish scheduled services to Miami. In April 1948 a transatlantic route was started between Havana and Madridmarker (via Bermudamarker, the Azores and Lisbonmarker) using Douglas DC-4 aircraft. The Madrid route was extended to Romemarker in 1950. The new route to Europe made Cubana one of the earliest Latin American carriers to establish scheduled transatlantic service.

In May 1959 the revolutionary government decided to take over Cubana, expropriating all the airline's private investors without compensation. The private passenger airline Aerovías Q and private cargo carriers Cuba Aeropostal and Expreso Aéreo Interamericano, were then merged into Cubana. Despite these problems, in 1961 Cubana expanded its scheduled transatlantic services to Praguemarker (apart from its existing Madrid route) using its Bristol Britannia jet-props. Cubana then ceded one of its Britannias to Czechoslovak Airlines (CSA) so that it could start its own Prague-Havana flights, in cooperation with Cubana's services on that route. Cubana's crews trained CSA personnel in the operation of the Britannias. This allowed CSA to establish its first-ever scheduled transatlantic service in 1962.

With the U.S. breaking relations (in 1961) and the imposition of the U.S. embargo on Cuba (in 1962), Cubana turned to the Soviet Unionmarker to obtain new aircraft. Cubana's cooperation made it possible for Aeroflot Soviet Airlines to establish 18-hour non-stop scheduled services between Moscowmarker and Havana in 1963. These were the longest non-stop flights in the world. Cooperation with the East Germanmarker airline Interflug made it possible for this carrier to establish its first scheduled transatlantic services, linking East Berlin with Havana.

After the 1990s, spare parts for Cubana's Soviet-built aircraft became harder to find. Cubana refurbished some of its aging IL-62M aircraft in the early 2000s, to use them in some of its international routes. The airline's limited financial resources and the lack of Western financing to replace these aircraft made it necessary to keep them in service despite their age. Also, restrictions imposed by the U.S. embargo on the sale of American-built aircraft and components (such as engines and avionics) made it necessary to keep the IL-62M and other Soviet-built aircraft in service. In 2004, Cubana started a long-term renovation. The strategy is based on the purchase of $100 million a year in new generation Russian-built aircraft until 2012. By 2012 Cubana will completely replace its aging Soviet built aircraft into new generation Russian airliners. As part of its renovation strategy, Cubana has sought to upgrade its technical support capabilities. The airline established a joint venture company with Iberia Airlines of Spain in 2005, to maintain and overhaul Western-built aircraft, including all Airbus and Boeing models.

In December 2005 Cubana received its first Ilyushin IL-96-300 registered CU-T1250, the aircraft made its first official flight in January 2006 covering the route Havana-Buenos Aires. The second IL-96 was received in March 2006 and a confirmation was signed for two additional ones, an IL-96 of the last two orders was received in 2007 and the remaining one is to be delivered. Three Tupolev Tu-204 were also ordered in 2006, two passenger version and one cargo version for Cubana Cargo. The Tupolev TU-204 cargo-version was delivered in August 2007. During the August 2007 MAKS Airshow Cubana signed a $150 million dollars contract for the purchase and confirmation of 2 Tupolev Tu-204 and 3 Antonov An-148 aircraft, to be delivered between 2008 and 2011 and becoming one of the Antonov An-148 launch customers. More orders for new aircraft will be made over the next 7 years until the conclusion of the Russian-Cuban aviation agreements signed in 2006.

Destinations

Cubana operates flights to over 40 destinations in Cuba, Europe, the Caribbean, North, Central and South America.

Codeshare agreements

As of November 2009, Cubana has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:



Fleet

Passenger fleet



The Cubana fleet includes the following aircraft (as of 25 October 2009):

Cubana de Aviación Fleet
Aircraft Total Orders Passengers
(Business*/Economy)
Notes
Airbus A320-200 2 150 (12/138) Both leased from Grupo TACA
Antonov An-148 3 Entry into service: 2009-2010 Launch Customer
Antonov An-24RV 2 48 (0/48) Due to exit the fleet. Replacement aircraft: Antonov 148
ATR 42-500 1 Operated by Aerogaviota
Boeing 767-300ER 1 250 (16/234) Wet-leased from EuroAtlantic Airways
Ilyushin IL-62M 1 158 (8/150) Due to exit the fleet
Ilyushin IL-96-300 3 262 (18/244)
Tupolev Tu-204-100E 4 224 (12/212)
Yakovlev Yak-42D 3 1 120 (0/120)
Total 17 4
*Business Class is not offered on some short haul flights.


References

  1. IATA - The International Air Transport Association History
  2. Cuba last year agreed to buy $100 million a year in civilian aircraft from Russia over the next seven years
  3. 2007 MAKS Airshow- Cubana signed a $150 million dollars for the delivery of 2 additional TU-204 and 3 AN-148
  4. Cubana de Aviación codeshare airlines
  5. Cubana Fleet - Official website
  6. Cubana Fleet - Airfleets.net
  7. aerotransport.org: Cubana de Aviación Flotte 19. October 2009
  8. CH Aviation Cubana Fleet
  9. Cubana orders Antonov 148 regional aircraft


External links




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