Virgin Atlantic Havana Bound

    June 27, 2005

Virgin Atlantic Airlines announced service to Havana, Cuba twice weekly when billionaire industrialist and playboy Richard Branson walked off one of his Virgin Atlantic jets in Havana on Monday.

Branson said, “At a time when the airline industry is up against high oil prices with many struggling to survive, Virgin Atlantic added services to Sydney in December last year, Mumbai in March this year, Havana and Nassau this summer and will launch services between Manchester to Barbados later this year.”

As Virgin works to expand its routes, the tony airline also plans to take 7 new A340-600s from Airbus. They also announced they’ll be adding over 1000 new employees in the coming months and years. They also plan to add Jamaica and Dubai to stops next year.

The airline business has been particularly difficult in recent months because of the skyrocketing costs of fuel. As oil prices topped $60 a barrel today, many airline watchers worry the big airlines in the U.S. may have real problems. Virgin and competitor British Airways just added fuel surcharges to their flights. Prices range anywhere from $16 to $50.

U.S airlines haven’t provided services to Cuba for decades. Cuba has been under a U.S. embargo since Fidel Castro took control through a violent revolution back in during the Eisenhower administration. Castro is still there. The strong anti Castro faction in the Republican party has prevented any semblance of diplomacy with the small island nation evey since.

John Stith is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.