Local April 6, 2016 | 10:08 am

American Airlines celebrates 25 years of service to Cuba

Miami. – American Airlines today celebrates 25 years ofcharter service to Cuba – invaluable and unmatched experience that positionsAmerican to be a leader when scheduled service begins later this year.American’s first charter flight to Cuba departed Miami International Airportfor Jose Marti International Airport in Havana on April 5, 1991.

Leo Rodriguez, a Miami-based Tower Planner who hascoordinated American’s Cuba charter flights for the past 25 years, recentlyreflected on his experience. “Back then, going to Cuba was like going to themoon. It was not like it is today. But I always thought our work was importantand we were laying the foundation for a regular operation. It has been reallyexciting because we were pioneers.”

Rodriguez, who was born in Cuba and is a 35-year employeeof American Airlines, is optimistic about the prospect of regularly scheduledflights to his home country and is honored to have played a role in theprocess. “It’s going to be the culmination of 25 years of work. We have workedreally hard and all those efforts are about to pay off. I am proud to have beenpart of something that is about to give birth to something bigger.”

In addition to American’s wealth of experience andfamiliarity with ground operations in Cuba, no carrier has made a greatercommitment to Miami-Dade County – the heart and soul of the Cuban-Americancommunity and home to nearly 50 percent of the Cuban-American population in theU.S. American is the undisputed leader among all airlines serving the peopleand businesses of Miami-Dade, and offers unrivaled connectivity through itsMiami hub.

Last month, American submitted an application to the U.S.Department of Transportation proposing to operate scheduled service between theU.S. and Cuba, including 10 daily frequencies from Miami to Havana andadditional service to Havana from American’s hubs in Charlotte, Dallas/FortWorth, Chicago and Los Angeles. American’s proposal also includes daily servicebetween Miami and five other Cuban cities.

American’s proposed Cuba service:

To Havana:

· Miami– 10 daily frequencies

· Charlotte– one daily frequency

· Dallas/FortWorth – one daily frequency

· Chicago– one weekly frequency

· LosAngeles – one weekly frequency

Also from Miami:

· Twodaily frequencies to Santa Clara

· Twodaily frequencies to Holguin

· Twodaily frequencies to Varadero

· Onedaily frequency to Camaguey

· Onedaily frequency to Cienfuegos

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