José Martí International Airport
Aeropuerto José Martí
|Elevation AMSL||64 m / 210 ft|
Source: Aerodrome chart
José Martí International Airport (IATA: HAV, ICAO: MUHA), sometimes known by its former name Rancho-Boyeros Airport, is an international airport located 15 km (9 mi) southwest of Havana, Cuba, and is a hub for Cubana de Aviación and Aerogaviota, and former Latin American hub for the Soviet (later Russian) airline Aeroflot. It is Cuba's main international and domestic gateway, and serves several million passengers each year. The airport is operated by Empresa Cubana de Aeropuertos y Servicios Aeronáuticos (ECASA).
The airport lies in the municipality of Boyeros and connects Havana with the rest of the Caribbean, North, Central, and South America, Europe, and one destination each in Africa (to Luanda by TAAG Angola Airlines) and Asia (to Beijing, via Montreal by Air China). It is named in memory of patriot and poet José Martí.
Private Cuban citizens are not allowed to own aircraft; all aircraft in Cuba belong to state-owned airlines or the military. Only government- and foreign-owned aircraft are allowed to use the facilities. Today, Copa Airlines is the foreign airline with most flights to the airport, operating 34 flights a week (roughly 5 daily flights) from Panama City, Panama and Bogotá, Colombia.
The current José Martí Airport in 1930 replaced the Columbia Airfield, which was the first airport to serve Havana. The original name of the airport, Rancho Boyeros, meaning the "(Bull) Drover Ranch", was in reference to the name of the plains/territory where the airport was being built. It was known as the Rancho Boyeros because in colonial times a local family had built a thatched hut and provided meals and an inn to the weary drovers that brought agricultural products to the capital from Batabanó and Vuelta Abajo.
To give a progressive environment to the airport, the old ranch homes were transformed into a small town that would serve as an industrial, livestock, agriculture and commercial centre, rising comfortable homes, an industrial technical school, a paint factory and other facilities. The town today is known as the Boyeros Municipality.
In 1961, diplomatic relations with the United States deteriorated substantially and with the United States embargo against Cuba, airlines from the United States were not permitted to operate regular scheduled flights to the airport. That year, two days prior to the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion organized by the CIA with the participation of Cuban exiles, Douglas A-26 Invader aircraft from Brigade 2506 bombarded José Martí Airport and Antonio Maceo Airport in Santiago de Cuba.
Because of Cuba's relationship with the Soviet Union, the airport during the 1970s and 1980s enjoyed the presence of many Eastern Bloc airline companies, such as Aeroflot, Czechoslovak Airlines, Interflug, and LOT Polish Airlines. In 1977 an Aeroflot Ilyushin Il-62 operating a scheduled flight from Moscow to Havana via Frankfurt and Lisbon crashed after takeoff from Lisbon, killing 68 of the 70 on board and one person on the ground. In 1989 a second Ilyushin Il-62, operated by Cubana as Cubana de Aviación Flight 9646, crashed after takeoff. All of the 115 passengers and 11 crew members as well as a number persons on the ground were killed.
In 1988, Terminal 2 was constructed in anticipation of future charter flights to the United States. In the 1990s the special charter flights were approved by the US government, to operate from Miami for Cuban citizens living in the United States that have close relatives in Cuba. Today, various airlines operate non-stop scheduled charter service between Havana and Miami. Terminal 2 was remodelled and expanded in 2010.
On December 31, 1997 a Concorde landed in Cuba for the first time, landing at José Martí Airport. The Air France flight London-Paris-Barbados-Havana was received at the airport by Fidel Castro who boarded the aircraft and greeted the crew and passengers. On April 26 the following year, the new International Terminal 3 was inaugurated by Canada's Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and Cuba's President Fidel Castro. In 2002 Air Freight Logistics Enterprise (ELCA S.A.) opened José Martí's first freight terminal known as the Aerovaradero Freight Terminal. The terminal has a 600 t (590 long tons; 660 short tons) capacity, 2,000 m3 (71,000 cu ft) of space in two refrigeration and freezing chambers, with humidity and gas controls.
In 2007, three young recruits who deserted from the Cuban Army tried to hijack a commercial passenger aircraft aiming to defect to the United States. At Terminal 1, the would-be hijackers killed one of the hostages, a lieutenant colonel.
Special charter service to the United States were allowed from the 1990s, but must be operated by travel companies licensed by the U.S. government, largely from Florida. In March 2015, Sun Country Airlines started operating regularly scheduled charter flights from New York during the Cuban Thaw. Regularly scheduled commercial service to and from the United States began again in the fall of 2016, with such airlines as American, Delta, and, after January 2017, Alaska, flying to Havana.
There are currently 3 passenger terminals in use at the airport. Terminal 1 is used primarily for domestic flights. Terminal 2 opened in 1988, primarily for charter flights to the United States. Ten years later on April 27, 1998, the International Terminal 3 was opened. International Terminal 3 offers many modern facilities and jetways that the former international Terminal 1 did not provide. For transfer between terminals, bus services are offered.
Domestic Terminal 1 used to be the main international and domestic terminal building in the airport prior of the opening of terminal 2 and 3-which was constructed in 1998. The terminal is located on the east side of runway 06. It is now used primarily for domestic flights.
Terminal 2 handles some long-distance international flights, such as to Zurich, Frankfurt, and Helsinki, along with a few Caribbean flights, such as to Aruba, Trinidad & Tobago, and most of the scheduled charter flights to and from Miami, Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale, and New York City. The scheduled charter flights to the United States are operated by Gulfstream Air Charters, ABC Charters, Marazul Charters, CTS Charters, and C & T Charters. The terminal is located on the north side roughly 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from terminal 3, and is just in front of the threshold of runway 24. It was constructed in 1988 when the first charter flights after the revolution were opened from Miami. There are bars, bookshops, newsagents, and also a restaurant on the second floor, as well as car rentals.
International Terminal 3 is the main international terminal which was opened in 1998. It is the largest and most modern of all terminals. Ticketing and departures are located on the upper level, arrivals and baggage carousels are located on the lower level. There are several car rentals located in the Arrivals Area.
|Aerogaviota||Baracoa, Cayo Coco, Holguín, Kingston, Montego Bay, Santiago de Cuba|
|Aeroméxico||Cancún, Mexico City|
|Air Canada Rouge||Toronto-Pearson|
|Air China||Beijing-Capital, Montréal-Trudeau|
|Air France|| Paris-Charles de Gaulle|
Seasonal charter: Pointe-à-Pitre
|Air Transat||Seasonal: Montréal-Trudeau|
|Avianca El Salvador||San Salvador|
|Caribbean Airlines||Port of Spain, Kingston (pending|
|Cayman Airways||Grand Cayman|
|Copa Airlines||Panama City-Tocumen|
|Baracoa, Buenos Aires-Ezeiza, Camagüey, Cancún, Caracas, Cayo Coco, Cayo Largo del Sur, Fort-de-France, Guantánamo, Holguín, Madrid, Mexico City, Nueva Gerona, Pointe-à-Pitre, Santiago de Cuba, Santo Domingo-Las Américas|
|Delta Air Lines||Miami|
|InterCaribbean Airways||Santo Domingo-Las Américas|
|Interjet||Cancún, Mérida, Mexico City, Monterrey|
|JetBlue||Boston, Fort Lauderdale, New York-JFK, Orlando|
|Neos||Seasonal Charter: Milan-Malpensa|
|Southwest Airlines||Fort Lauderdale, Tampa|
|Sunrise Airways||Port-au-Prince, Santo Domingo-Las Américas|
|United Express||Houston-Intercontinental, Newark|
|Virgin Atlantic||London-Gatwick (ends 7 June 2020),London-Heathrow (begins 9 June 2020)|
|VivaAerobus||Charter: Guadalajara, Mexico City, Monterrey|
Media related to José Martí International Airport at Wikimedia Commons