Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Cubana Airways

Have you ever heard of Cubana airways before? No? Me neither. When I booked my holiday to Cuba, the sales person on the phone emphasised to me that it was a good thing that we were flying Cubana airways, because they are a scheduled airline rather than a charter.

After paying the deposit for my holiday I decided to find out a little more about Cubana. Yes, I know, I should have really checked this out first, but I was so excited about the thought of going to Cuba that I didn’t really think about this.

So, I typed “Cubana” into Google, expecting to be returned the airline’s website as the first result.

Instead I was rewarded with pages of reviews about Cubana. And these were not good reviews. The more I read about Cubana, the more worried I got – especially after reading one person’s account of his flight’s on Cubana airways – http://www.bootsnall.com/travelstories/na/mar02cubana.shtml Reading this account for the second time, now that I’m back, I find the whole story quite hilarious, but at the time the main emotion I felt was fear.

In summary, Cubana has the worst safety record of any airline in the world. If you’re into airline crash statistics you can take a closer look at this on http://www.planecrashinfo.com/ It makes very interesting reading, as long as you’re not reading it just before taking a flight.

The figures on this site are just for international airlines. Apparently it is not a requirement to report statistics for domestic flights, so you can probably imagine that the statistics for Cubana’s domestic flights could well be even worse.

Just to add to this, I also read that most of Cubana’s fleet of aircraft are made up of old Russian planes and the service (cabin crew, entertainment, food etc) is pretty bad.

To be honest, I wasn’t too bothered about the service of the airline, but I was very bothered about the safety rating, especially as I was also flying on an internal flight.

Stuart phoned up the holiday place to find out some more about the type of aircraft that we were flying and we were relieved to find out that they used new Airbus 330 aircraft for the flight from Gatwick and our internal flight was actually on the same plane that came from Gatwick. As a bonus, the airline was also operated and maintained by a Swedish company.

A quick final look at those air crash statistics showed that all the crashes had happened on flights to South America on Russian aircraft, so I was suitably relived about this new information and we decided that there was no need to do anything drastic such as cancel the holiday!

To find out which other airlines fly to Cuba have a look at TripAdvisor's Cheap Flights to Cuba


Blogger JAMP said...

Hi, Suzanne
My name is Martin. I am a journalist, 42, and I live in Havana City.
I read your blog post about Cubana Airlines. I have already seen www.planecrashinfo.org in the past and all my feelings are on this website when I take a Cubana national flight. But it is also, same as you, an hilarious moment to me, because Cuban people have learned to laugh facing the most incredible dificulties. We do not have newer planes because the US embargo: we can not able to buy any US manufactured plane nor any plane made with US parts. The old Russian planes are Cubana's flying capital from the former socialist era.
Now, for every ten business abroad Cuba fails in nine, because there are more US officials seeking and aborting Cuban business than over Al Qaeda ones.
Besides, for an underdeveloped country it is not easy to buy and operate modern planes; even our President flies on a 30 year old IL 62.
May be driving to Gatwick on a stormy day can be more dangerous than flying in a Cubana plane, so relax and enjoy your trip again.

Havana, Cuba

3:03 AM  
Blogger Alopez25 said...

Martin, you are quite the uninformed reporter but then again, there is not much real "news" in Cuba (I'll like to see a Cuban allowed to read whatever he wants - which will not happen until Castro dies). You say that "[w]e do not have newer planes because the US embargo: we can not able to buy any US manufactured plane nor any plane made with US parts." You can try buying (EU-made) Airbuses so the fact that there is an embargo does not make up for the crappy way that Cubana de Aviacion is operated (then again, the military runs Cubana, just as they run almost every other company in Cuba).

Second, your "President" Fidelito Castro just bought himself a very expensive IL-96 plane from Russia solely as a presidential transport. Besides, according to Forbes magazine, Castro is worth around $900 M\million Dollars.

Funny that you get to see this blog, given how the Cuban government restricts and blocks most internet access by regular folks.

Dont be a fool: don't defend those that take advantage of you and take away your liberties.


A. Lopez

8:25 AM  
Blogger Rita said...

A. Lopez, Cubana can't aquire Airbuses even if they are French because 10% of Airbus parts are manufactured in USA, as well goes to Embraer which is Brazilian, Ilyushin, Tupolev.. are the ones that are 100% manufacture in Russia and 100% Russian parts that's why they are the only ones Cubana can aquire. About they new Ilyusin a/c, one it's a VIP version that can be used by the Cuban goverment for their flights and also it can be configured for regular Cubana flights. Good day!

6:38 AM  
Blogger Papayaman said...

Mr. Lopez you are correct in saying " Dont be a fool: don't defend those that take advantage of you and take away your liberties." It seems that all that is wrong in Cuba is due to the embargo. Mr. Martin why is that Cuba is undeveloped. Is it because of this embargo? I feel very sorry for the Cuban's as they have been brainwashed by fidel for half a century. Why do you suppose that Cubans are denied freedom, and liberties? Not because of the "embargo". But the embargo Castro has imposed on your country. The embargo against freedom and liberti Mr. Martin. Open your eyes, mind and heart. Castro, not the United States has raped your country, not just of it's natural resources but of it's soul. If cuban's were free to see the rest of the free world they would taste freedom and liberty they would not tolerate such conditions in Cuba. The real shame is that Castro wants everyone to sacrifice for the revolution, but he does not suffer. He has has freedom to do what he wants. When will the Cuban people wake up and smell the coffee?

8:10 PM  
Blogger johnsurf said...


9 out of 10 business fail in the first two years right in the United States. Check out: http://www.gardnerbusiness.com/failures.htm

Small businesses are especially vulnerable. In the United States we call small businesses "the middle class enthusiasm". They start out with high hopes and then the reality of large negative cash flows erode their ability to pay the bills. Before you know it, you are stuck. This happens before you reach the "promise" of future growth, and you are completely strapped and out of cash. 9 out of 10 business fail within the first few years right in the USA!

Given the fact that the embargo also leaves Cuba with many financial assets frozen and without the ability to borrow money, comparisons with countries that can borrow money and have access to the international banking system is pointless. There are "advantages" and "disadvantages" of not being under the thumb of the IMF. It is interesting that the "9 out of 10" failures shows up again and again. It might be a "constant" of human nature...an enthusiasm of homosapien all over the world...it is difficult to determine exactly why so many businesses fail because the former owners are so wiped out that they are not easy to reach.

Yours, John Smith

5:35 AM  
Blogger Alfredo said...

I actually leave in the U.S.A. but i'm cuban, cuba can not afford to bye airplanes for Cubana Airways but they do rent "Airbus A320-233", here is a picture that was taken in 2006 : http://www.planepictures.net/netshow.php?id=287006

Its so sad to know that the Cuban regimen does not have money for their passenger's security and they do have to bye a brand new airplane made for exclusively for the regimen's dictator Fidel & Raul Castro........!!!!

5:57 PM  
Blogger Ali Field said...

Will fly with Cubana in two days (29.07.09)...I cannot say I don't feel slightly fearful given what I read in the net, but nonetheless I 100% sympatize with what Cuba had to go through and the shame that USA should feel on putting restrictions and sactions as such as to jeopardize people's safety. This is quite silly and should stop. If USA was really more free and clever than Cuba decisions would be made so that this accidents wouldn't happen again!

9:43 PM  
Blogger : said...

For more details on Cubana Airlines like Information, history, baggage details, check in, destinations, fleets, images and more visit "Altiusdirectory.com". This URL may be useful.


6:46 AM  

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