José Martí International Airport (IATA: HAV, ICAO: MUHA), previously called El Rancho Boyeros International Airport, is located 15 km (9 mi) southwest of Havana, Cuba, and is a hub for Cubana de Aviación, Aerogaviota and Aerocaribbean, and former Latin American hub for Aeroflot Soviet Airlines. The airport lies in the municipality of Boyeros. It is named in memory of patriot and poet José Martí.
Havana airport is operated by ECASA (Empresa Cubana de Aeropuertos y Servicios Aeronáuticos S.A.). It is Cuba's main international and domestic gateway, it serves several million passengers each year, 80% of Cuba's international passengers along with Varadero's Juan Gualberto Gómez Airport.
There are currently three terminals in use at the airport plus an additional terminal operated only by Aerocaribbean.
The construction of José Martí Airport was authorized in March 1929. On 24 February 1930, the airport officially opened, replacing Havana Columbia Airport. On 30 October 1930, Cubana de Aviación's (at the time CNCAC, S.A.) first ever flight Havana-Santiago de Cuba carried the mail using a Ford trimotor with stops in Santa Clara, Morón and Camaguey. In 1936 non-commercial flights to Madrid started with an Lockheed Sirius aircraft made out of wood lined with cloth, had a Pratt & Whitney Wasp 550 hp (410 kW) engine, a cruising speed of 180 mph and no radio. The aircraft named "4th of September" was commanded by Capt. Antonio Menéndez Pélaez and was flown previously between Camaguey, Cuba and Seville, Spain. By January 1943 the airport had its first control tower and was as well the first control tower in the country. The first commercial international flight out of the airport was flown by Cubana de Aviación's DC-3 Havana-Miami. By 1950 the airport had a second route to Europe, the flight known as "The route of the stars" Havana-Rome operated by a Cubana DC-4.
In 1961 the 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 regularly scheduled flights to the airport. In the 1990s special charter flights were approved by the US government to operate from Miami to José Martí for Cuban citizens living in the United States that have close relatives in Cuba. Today, various airlines operate non-stop service between Havana and Miami, including American Eagle Airlines, Gulfstream International Airlines, and several others.
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, Aeroflot, Czech Airlines, Interflug, LOT. The airport has seen its share of tragedies, as many of the older Soviet built jets that Cubana and some of the other communist airlines (such as the Soviet Union's Aeroflot and the East German Interflug) used have crashed either going from or to this airport.
Terminal 2 opened on 15 November 1988 primarily for direct flights to the United States and charter flights. Ten years later on 27 April 1998, the new international terminal 3 was opened by Canada's Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and Cuban President Fidel Castro. The new terminal with three VIP lounges provides many modern facilities and jetways that the former international terminal 1 did not provide.
In 2002, the Air Freight Logistics Enterprise (ELCA S.A.) opened José Martí's first freight terminal, the freight terminal is a joint venture equally shared between the Cargosur company, part of the Iberia group, and Aerovaradero S.A. of Cuba, with an investment of over $2.5 million USD. The goal of this enterprise, the most modern of its kind in this geographical region, is to facilitate and reduce the cost of freight transportation between Europe and the Americas, in aircraft belonging to various companies. The terminal has a 600-Ton capacity, 2,000 cubic meters of space in two refrigeration and freezing chambers alone, with humidity and gas controls.
The airport is home to IBECA. As part of Cubana's renovation strategy, the airline has sought to upgrade its technical support capabilities, and in 2005 IBECA was created. IBECA is a joint venture company 50% owned by Cubana de Aviación and 50% by Iberia Airlines, it deals with the technical maintenance of Western-built aircraft, including all Airbus and Boeing models. It has contracted with various airlines flying to Cuba to provide maintenance and technical support. Annually, it gives technical coverage to more than 5,000 air operations, for more than 30 different airlines, primarity from Europe and the Americas.
Presently José Martí Airport is constructing a new automated center of air traffic control which will give its service to the whole region of the FIR assigned to Cuba. The total radarization of FIR was a prior necessary step, this will completely increase the reliability of the air traffic service that Cuba has in the whole region under its control, which is one the major air traffic volume of Latin America as most flights to/from the east coast United States to Central and South America fly over Cuba's air space, with an estimated over 450 controlled flights daily.
Accidents and incidents
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 west side of runway 6. It is now used primarily for domestic flights.
Terminal 2 handles mainly schedule charter flights to and from Miami and New York for US residents with special permission from the United States government and Cuban citizens with US visas, the scheduled charters are operated by Gulfstream Air Charters, ABC Charters, Marazul Charters and C & T Charters. The terminal is located on the north side, just in front of runway 24 threshold. It was constructed in the 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 in the arrivals area.
Terminal 3 is the main international terminal, it was open in 1998 by Canada's Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and Fidel Castro, and is the largest and most modern. 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, the companies represented include Cubanacar, Fenix, Rent a Car, Rex (limousines and luxury cars), Transtur, and Via Rent-a-Car. In terminal 3 all the bars and restaurants are open 24 hours. There are information desks in the Arrivals and Departure areas. A bank, post office and internet are also available in this terminal.
Terminal 5 is mainly used by Aerocaribbean, but Aerotaxi, which is a Cuban based charter airline, is also present. All flights from the United States will temporarily be handled at this terminal due to construction and remodeling at Terminal 2.
Transfer Between Terminals
There is a bus service between the terminals.
The airport has short-term car parks. Terminal 3 has 750 parking spaces and Terminal 1 & 2 has 500 parking spaces each. All car parks are situated less than 150 meters from the terminals.
Terminals, airlines and destinations
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