New charter flights to Cuba in May, from Gatwick and Manchester.

Cayo Coco Memories
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Maleth Aero has been contracted to operate a summer schedule of direct flights between the UK and Cuba, as announced by the Ministry of Tourism of the country last month.

These non-stop services, departing from Gatwick and Manchester, will be the sole direct flights to the Caribbean Island from the UK following the cessation of TUI's flights to Cuba at the end of this month, leaving only scheduled routes from mainland Europe or Canada as the best options.

The flights are chartered by Iron Travel, a tour operator based in Spain, with ticketing handled by Euro Airlines. An inaugural flight is scheduled to depart from Gatwick to Cayo Coco on May 5, carrying up to 25 members of the UK travel trade on a familiarization trip organized by the Cuban Tourist Office.

Passenger flights will commence from Manchester on May 10, operating to Holguin every Friday, while a Gatwick flight to Cayo Coco will run every Sunday starting May 12.

Maleth, a Maltese carrier, will utilize an A330-200 for the weekly flights, offering both economy and business-class seating.

According to Euroairlines CEO Antonio López Lázaro, the agreement will strengthen and consolidate the company's presence in Latin America, as stated in a press release. "For us, Iron Travel is a strategic partner that will allow us to strengthen our presence in a very important area for international tourism," López Lázaro emphasised.

Following the agreement signed by both companies, the British company will have access to a network of travel agencies, aggregators, and consolidators present in more than 60 countries facilitated by the Spanish company.

Ernesto Placer, CEO of Iron Travel, expressed being "very pleased" to partner with Euroairlines. "Our collaboration will help improve the connection between Europe and the Caribbean, as we will provide the best customer experience before, during, and after the trip," Placer affirmed.

William Ruano, Commercial Manager of Iron Travel, expressed optimism that UK tour operators will secure seats on the flights, which are also available for booking through GDSs.

Simply Cuba is among the operators set to provide the flight. Alan Meadows, Trade Sales Manager, revealed that European charter specialist Iron Travel and TripLatam, focusing on travel for migrants in South America, are the driving forces behind the initiative.

“They approached us, and we agreed to support it. I believe other operators will also come on board”.

“It's a positive development for that region of Cuba, which hasn't seen significant UK traffic since the era of Thomas Cook,” he noted. “There has been substantial investment in the smaller Cayos on the east coast, and these flights align well with the developments in that part of the island.” He mentioned that ten agents will be on the inaugural flight from Gatwick.

Matthew O'Sullivan, Director of Captivating Cuba, commented: “There is ongoing demand from the UK for direct flights to Cuba's popular beach resorts, and the initial plans for a direct service to both Cayo Coco and Holguin can only be welcomed and will help to meet this demand. “We eagerly anticipate adding the flight to our expanding portfolio of routes to Cuba this spring.”

All tourists planning to visit Cuba will be required to obtain a tourist card (visa) prior to their travels. This essential document can be conveniently obtained through the official provider website www.visacuba.com.  By securing the tourist card in advance, international travellers can ensure a smooth and hassle-free entry into Cuba, allowing them to fully enjoy their Cuban adventures without any delays or complications.

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