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Friday, July 30, 2021

Viva Aerobús takes over ‘critical’ direct flights to Havana

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Lee Steele
Lee Steele is the founding director of Roof Cat Media and has published Yucatán Magazine and other titles since 2012. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Viva Aerobús is taking over direct flights from Mérida to Havana, following Interjet’s collapse. On Saturday, water cannons mark the inaugural flight to the Caribbean republic. Photo: Yucatán Tourism Ministry

Wasting little time to fill demand, Viva Aerobús is taking over Interjet’s Mérida-Havana route, tourism officials in Yucatán announced.

The new direct flight to the Caribbean republic follows Interjet’s financial collapse, leaving its future in doubt. The latter low-cost airline maintained a daily international route in November 2019.

Walfred Castro Novelo, corporate communications director of Viva Aerobús; state tourism secretary Michelle Fridman Hirsch; and Mérida airport manager Óscar Carrillo Maldonado witnessed the inaugural flight on Saturday.

Viva Aerobús’ Walfred Castro Novelo, state tourism secretary Michelle Fridman Hirsch, and airport manager Óscar Carrillo Maldonado prepare for the airline’s inaugural Mérida-Havana flight. Photo: Courtesy

Flights will be Wednesdays and Saturdays on an Airbus A320 aircraft that fits 186 passengers, said Castro Novelo, director of corporate communications of Viva Aerobús. The airline also flies to Cuba from Mexico City and Cancun, and is Mérida’s only direct path to Havana.

Flights take about 90 minutes across the Yucatán Channel, the strait connecting the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.

“It is something outstanding what Viva Aerobús did, which is to take advantage of this route, a crucial one,” said Fridman Hirsch.

Aeroenlaces Nacionales, S.A. de C.V., which is the airline’s official name, is owned by Mexico’s largest bus company group, IAMSA, and was co-founded by Ireland-based Irelandia. It is based in Monterrey.

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