Alaska Airlines Cites Trump Policy Change in Ending Service to Cuba From LA

(Los Angeles Times/TNS) -
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Alaska Airlines cited new travel restrictions imposed by the Trump administration as the main reason it plans to end service from Los Angeles to Cuba.

Alaska began its daily Los Angeles-to-Havana flights Jan. 5 and plans to fly its last plane to Cuba Jan. 22, 2018, the airline said this week.

In 2014, President Barack Obama began relaxing restrictions to travel between the U.S. and Cuba. The biggest change was allowing Americans to visit Cuba on their own, instead of on expensive group tours, as long as they declared that their trips were to learn about Cuban people and culture.

This summer, President Donald Trump said he intended to reverse several of those new policies toward Cuba, including the policy that let Americans travel to the island with fewer restrictions. Those new regulations went into effect Nov. 9.

Seattle-based Alaska Airlines subsequently said it would end its service from Los Angeles International Airport to Havana, because the new restrictions on travel will hurt demand. The airline said that about 80 percent of its passengers who have flown to Havana have done so under the relaxed travel policy.

“Given the changes in Cuba travel policies, the airline will redeploy these resources to other markets the airline serves where demand continues to be strong,” Andrew Harrison, chief commercial officer for the airline, said in a statement.