Amid all the excitement surrounding the “opening” of Cuba, Boyd Group International was the only consulting firm to call for some realistic analysis of the market.
Actually, no other consulting entity even said a word – which says a lot.
Our analyses, openly published between 2009 and 2016, clearly warned that the potential US-Cuba market is very limited, and almost entirely one-way. Plus, we warned that the majority of any traffic would come from SE Florida, supported almost entirely by VFR and tour traffic, with a smattering of tour-group movements from a few other US points.
We also pointed out that, other than Havana, demand for US visitation to other cities in the closed-economy of Cuba would essentially be zip.
Frankly, any US airline route planner who would propose flying a domestic market as obviously dismal as most US-Cuba routes would likely be tossed out of the building.
Last week, the DOT “re-allocated” Cuba slots. Or, more correctly, Havana slots, to address the pull-out by Frontier, Spirit, Silver, and Alaska. Most of the re-allocated flying is from SE Florida.
The giant bonanza of feeding traffic to Cuba over US airline hubs was a travel industry mirage.
Our forecasts were alone in illuminating the market realities, all of which ran counter to the ambient thinking: other than SE Florida to Havana, and outside of that, some VFR and adventure tourism, Cuba in its present state is a dog market.
This was not some deepl-buried set of circumstances. One rational look at the market, and the conclusion is clear: Cuba today has very limited potential.
It will remain so until there are major changes in the governance of this workers’ paradise, where free speech, the vote, and any semblance of a business base are still non-existent.