pic: Ricardo IV Tamayo @ricardo4to
With the reinstatement of the José Martí International Airport last Sunday November 15, Havana has finally reopened its skies to the world. Thus end long months of inactivity for the Institute of Civil Aeronautics of Cuba in matters of commercial, scheduled and charter air operations; virtually paralyzed by the impact of COVID-19 on the entire planet.
Late but safe
The decision to reincorporate the capital’s airport to its functions has not been hasty. The rest of the air entry points to the country have been opened since October 15 with strict observance of security protocols, to prevent the entry of patients infected with the SARS-COVID-19 virus.
As a result of this, not only dozens of imported cases have been detected, but the lives of tourists who have arrived in the country have been protected. This Protocol for Health Control includes, among other measures, conducting a real-time PCR test directly at international terminals on all travelers who arrive in the national territory without exception, among other measures. These include taking the temperature, limiting access to the facilities only to travelers, the mandatory use of a mask, constant disinfection, rules of distancing, control of the places of accommodation until the results of the RT-PCR test are obtained, and the transfer to places of temporary isolation if signs of COVID-19 are detected.
Aeronautics and the new normal There are already many airlines that have resumed their operations in Cuba to airports near the country’s tourist poles, mainly to the area of the “Callos” and Varadero. With them, many tour operators have also returned to the island, such as the Belgium TUI or the Russian Anex Tours.
They are joined by airlines that will begin to fly to Havana on a regular basis. These include Air Canada, American Airlines, Azurair, Sunrise Airways, VivasAerobus, and many others. Of course, in the future it is expected that more customers will gradually be incorporated into airport operations until they reach the level they had before the pandemic. This reached 4.3 million tourists in 2019.
A battle that cannot be lost
It has cost a lot in terms of efforts, resources and lives for the capital of all Cubans to control the effects of the pandemic in a city where more than 2 million people live. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the largest of the Antilles has only reported 7,541 cases with 131 deaths. Without being a cause for joy, these figures speak for themselves of the country’s success in containing the pandemic and its nature as a safe destination.
On the other hand, after so many months of paralysis of the so-called locomotive of the Cuban economy, an opening of the skies for the good of tourism is imperative.
But always keeping security, both for visitors and nationals. With the arrival of the winter high season, the opening of the José Martí International Airport is good news. But more than with drums and cymbals, with a mask, spacing, RT-PCR and hydroalcoholic gel.