January 6, 2020 – Monday Update

2020: More Cuba Reality to Come.

Remember all the enthusiasm regarding the “opening” of air service to Cuba?

Last summer, FedEx dropped plans to operate cargo flights to Cuba.

Gee… wonder why.

Most of the reporting on this event just focused on comments about tighter restrictions on US-Cuba travel implemented by the Trump Administration.

The implication often was that they are capriciously trying to cut off what was developing into a huge wallow in Cuba-US friendship and eventually new shipments of grain from North Dakota, cars from Flint and Lansing, consumer goods at new Cuba-based Walmarts, and gazillions of tourists from all over the USA.

Fake news in its highest form.

Needless to say, a lot of this reporting made no concrete discussion of hard facts. Just the innuendo that somehow, the Administration has choked off a potentially lucrative connection between the US and the Worker’s Paradise 90 miles off our shores.

Which is baloney.

The fact is that there is no business base in Cuba… no exports, and no industries that need air cargo. There’s also no freedom of speech, no elections, and food rationing from time to time. And you can take it to ‘Vegas and make book that none of this will change in the near term.

Typically, when it comes to reporting on Cuba-US relations, all this is conveniently ignored. Nevertheless, for air cargo, there’s not a lot of businesses in Matanzas needing to get that package to Omaha tomorrow morning. Sending FedEx freighters to Cuba is like trying to import air conditioners to the Antarctic.

As for the cabin-busting passenger demand originally implied by travel organizations, there are a number of airlines that found they were carrying a lot of sailboat fuel, and quietly got out of the market. Outside of VFR traffic from South Florida, which was there before the grand “opening,” the flood of traffic just wasn’t – and isn’t – there.

All this was obvious from the start when Obama “opened” Cuba in 2014. In the coming year, this is not going to change, unless the cleptocracy running the island pack up and leave.

Boyd Group International was the only research and consulting firm that pointed this out from the start. That’s because we provide our clients with independent, fact-based consulting and forecasts. Not hype.

If your organization is looking for aviation consulting that doesn’t run with the pack, give us a call.


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