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American Airlines plans to end nonstop flight from Charlotte to Havana

American Airlines plans to end its daily flight from Charlotte to Havana.
American Airlines plans to end its daily flight from Charlotte to Havana. jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com

American Airlines plans to end its flight from Charlotte to Havana, Cuba, according to filings with the U.S. Department of Transportation.

In 2016, when the Obama administration relaxed travel restrictions for U.S. citizens going to Cuba, Charlotte was one of ten cities selected by DOT to receive a route to Havana. Now, American Airlines instead wants to move the flight from Charlotte Douglas International Airport to its main Latin American hub at Miami International Airport.

The daily flight from Charlotte to Havana averaged only about half-full during the first half of 2018, according to American. Most passengers on the flight also were connecting passengers, not local travelers heading to or from Charlotte, and they can still connect from Miami, American officials said.

The company also said that stricter rules on travel to Cuba are cutting down on the number of passengers from the U.S. The Trump administration tightened travel restrictions last year, once again barring most non-group travel.

“Despite American’s efforts to maintain this service, fewer passengers are flying to Cuba from or via Charlotte now that the U.S.-Cuba travel authorizations have narrowed,” American said in the filing.

American would have a total of six flights a day from Miami to Havana if the change is approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation, American said in a statement.

“Miami is uniquely position to serve Cuba given its proximity to the island and the large Cuban-American population in Miami-Dade County,” American said.

American Airlines flight 801 flies through a water cannon salute prior to takeoff for Cuba. It is the inaugural flight for what will be daily service between Charlotte and Havana.

Staff writer Ely Portillo Contributed.

Cassie Cope: 704-358-5926, @cassielcope
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