MARCH 17, 2017 — Good morning, everybody! Here's the latest from the world's airlines, airports, and national parks.
* FRONTIER AND SILVER SUSPENDING SERVICE TO CUBA (Travel Weekly)
Frontier Airlines and Silver Airways are both stopping their flights to Cuba, the carriers announced this week.
Frontier, which has been operating one daily flight between Miami and Havana since December 1, 2016, will halt service to the island on June 4. The company cites lack of customer demand as the reason.
Silver currently flies to nine Cuban cities from Fort Lauderdale, and the airline reports that the planes have been about as full as expected. But larger carriers including American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and JetBlue have also been offering service to Cuban destinations outside of Havana, and Silver has concluded there's not enough business to go around for it to turn a profit.
U.S. airlines began flying to Cuba last year for the first time since the start of the American embargo against the island more than 50 years ago. With Frontier and Silver halting flights, that leaves eight U.S. carriers offering service to Cuba: Alaska Airlines, American, Delta Airlines, JetBlue, Spirit Airlines, Southwest, Sun Country Airlines, and United Airlines.
* TRUMP'S BUDGET CALLS FOR PRIVATIZING AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL (TravelPulse)
One of the travel-related items in President Donald Trump's budget proposal for fiscal year 2018 is a provision to privatize the U.S. air traffic control system.
Right now, air traffic control is one of the functions of the Federal Aviation Administration. Trump would like to turn that duty over to an "independent, non-governmental organization."
Privatization has the approval of the major U.S. airlines as well as the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, which represents 14,000 members. They say the FAA's project to upgrade how the skies are organized is going too slowly because it requires yearly reauthorization from Congress.
Many congressional legislators, however, oppose putting a private business in charge of directing air traffic, primarily for safety concerns. Small airports are also against the move, fearing that major airlines would dominate the system and force them to pay more to be a part of it.
And while we're on the subject of Trump . . .
* HISTORIC PHILADELPHIA SITES CLOSE DUE TO TRUMP'S HIRING FREEZE (Philadelphia magazine)
Seven historical attractions in Philadelphia have been closed as a result of Trump's hiring freeze on federal jobs.
The sites affected include two notable landmarks, both in the Old City, relating to U.S. Founders: a reconstruction, built at the original address, of the house where Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, and the home and print shop of Benjamin Franklin.
Presumably caused by understaffing, the closures were announced by officials with the union that represents employees of Philadelphia's Independence National Historical Park. The National Park Service has been approved to hire seasonal workers, but it's unclear what those positions will be or whether any of them will be in Philadelphia.
Adding further uncertainty: Trump's budget proposal calls for a 12% cut in funding to the Department of the Interior, which oversees the National Park Service.
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