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  • Konrad Tillman

Air China Announces New Route From Madrid, Spain To Havana, Cuba


Air China has just announced its newest route from Madrid to Havana, starting in less than a month! The absolute last thing I would have expected is for Air China to operate a fifth freedom route from Madrid to Havana. However, I am vastly excited by this for a variety of reasons.

Let's get right into it!

The Details

Beginning May 17th, 2024, Air China will operate a twice-weekly service from Beijing to Cuba utilizing a 787-9. Due to the length between China and Cuba along with the demand, this route has a stop in Madrid. The schedule is as follows.

CA865- Beijing- Madrid: 7:00 AM- 12:45 PM

CA865- Madrid-Havana: 2:45 PM- 6:30 PM

CA866- Havana- Madrid: 11:55 PM- 3:30 PM (the day after)

CA866- Madrid- Beijing: 5:30 PM- 10:30 AM (the day after)

Air China 787-9 Business Class

On this Dreamliner aircraft, seats are arranged in 3 classes: business class, premium economy, and economy. The Dreamliner provides a pleasant experience for passengers, but the 2-2-2 configuration leaves a lot to be desired.

My Thoughts

Air China is a state-owned airline, not privately owned. Frequently, we see political airlines decide on certain routes for relations; Venezuela is a prime example of this. According to sources on the internet (don't always trust the internet), multiple politicians fly with Air China, which means that if they ever had to go to Cuba now, they would have a one-stop on the state-owned airline.

Another aspect that may prove to be crucial is cargo. Even if the US an Cuba don't trade much (if at all anymore, I am not big on politics I try to avoid it), Cuba is a big import export hub. I expect cargo loads to be quite heavy on this route.

What excites me most about this route is the fact that there is another option to get to Cuba. I friggin love Cuba to bits, and even put it in my top 10 countries! Currently, Iberia, Cubana (which is on the agenda to fly), Air Europa, and World2Fly operate this route. However, there are also direct flights to a lot of Europe, such as Frankfurt, Paris, Zurich, Milan, and even Istanbul (sort of).

I remember seeing the Turkish Airlines 787-9 getting ready to depart when I was recently in Havana!

Turkish 787-9 at Havana Airport

I'm not quite sure how I will feel seeing an Air China plane at Havana Airport next time I am there😅. Not that I'm against it, quite the contrary, actually, but it just seems like it will be out of place😂.

Final Thoughts

Air China is resuming service to Havana after a 3 year hiatus, this time they are flying through Madrid instead of Montreal. Expect a twice-weekly service for the time being, as well as 787-9, to be operating this route. Beijing-Madrid-Havana makes sense due to the political relations and cargo demand. Only time will tell if they can fill up the passenger loads!



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