MIAMI, United States. – British airline Virgin Atlantic announced this week that it will resume flights to the island next November 1st, following two years of not operating in Cuba due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“After a long period of time that feels like an eternity, we are delighted to be resuming flights to Havana starting November 1st,” announced the airline on its Facebook page.
“To stroll down sun-bathed plazas, drink daiquiris, then dance salsa all night, all before falling asleep to the calming sounds of the Caribbean waves in the nation’s capital,” added Virgin Atlantic in an attempt to promote Cuba as a tourist destination.
As is customary in this type of promo material, the airline made no mention about the repressive climate in the island nor about the severe shortages that Cubans are enduring. At this time, Cubans are staging a massive exodus to the United States comparable to the Mariel crisis.
Virgin Atlantic is one of the airlines owned by British magnate Richard Branson, owner of Virgin Group, which operates transcontinental flights from London to North America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Australia.
Branson is known to many Cubans for having met in 2017 with Fidel Antonio Castro Smirnov, one of the late dictator Fidel Castro’s grandsons. In fact, the magnate stated that he was “delighted” to have met one of Castro’s grandsons during a business trip to Cuba.
The British billionaire, whose fortune is valued at US$ 5.1 billion, described as “a lucky break” to have met Castro Smirnov. On that occasion, they spoke about their “love for adventure and the ocean,” and about how “the various medical advances that Cuba has accomplished could prove incredibly useful to the rest of the world.”
Branson did not hide his admiration for the Cuban regime. During his conversation with Castro’s grandson, they also spoke about the U.S. embargo “which has been an obstacle to Cuba’s development but also has deprived the U.S. of access to many of Cuba’s accomplishments,” he stated.
The powerful investor wrote in one of his company’s news outlets that he “had been flying to Cuba for many years with Virgin Atlantic.”
The airline inaugurated its itinerary from Gatwick Airport in London and Juan Gualberto Gómez International Airport in Varadero, in April 2017.
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