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Third flight to Cuba added at Tampa airport

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Published:   |   Updated: October 2, 2013 at 10:18 PM

Miami-based ABC Charters said Wednesday it would add a weekly flight between Tampa International Airport and Santa Clara, Cuba, beginning Dec. 4, the third Cuba destination the operator will serve from Tampa.

The Santa Clara flights will use jet aircraft on contract from JetBlue Airways.

ABC Charters currently serves Havana and Holguin, Cuba, with flights from Tampa International on aircraft on contract with American Airlines.

“Adding this third location speaks to the Tampa Bay area’s demand for more flights to Cuba,” Tampa International Chief Executive Officer Joe Lopano said.

“The Tampa Bay region has the third largest Cuban-American population in the United States, with historic ties to the island nation dating back to the days before Jose Marti,” Lopano said.

More than 85,000 passengers at Tampa International have flown Cuba flights since ABC Charters launched service here in September 2011.

Tampa-based Island Travel & Tours offers flights between Tampa International and Havana twice a week and has scheduled a third weekly flight beginning Nov. 1.

Santa Clara’s central location complements flights to Havana in the west and Holguin in the east, and will provide convenient access to Cuba’s coastal communities in Cienfuegos and Trinidad, Tampa airport officials said.

The new flight will make Tampa International the only U.S. airport besides Miami with direct flights to three Cuban cities. ABC Charters will add an additional weekly flight to Havana on Nov. 5.

tjackovics@tampatrib.com

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