Good piece of advice. From just seeing their planes at GRU sometime ago, they gave me a not so good impression. A friend of mine flew with them to HAV once, pretty much told me he did not feel comfortable/safe the entire duration of the flight.
But that's just my 2 cents
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
Planenutz From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 1279 posts, RR: 11 Reply 8, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 5895 times:
A good refernce for this question would be the Cubana World Air Routes DVD offered through .
An entire chapter is dedicated to CU's maintenance operations at HAV. Granted the piece is narrated by the CU maintenance director, so you have take whats said with a grain of salt, but they appear to be able to get the job done. According to him, all heavy maintenance on CU owned aircraft are done a thier HAV maintenace hangar. Additionaly they do provide contract maintenance, and at the time were working on a Gambia registered IL-62 and a Canadian registered 727.
One of the flight segmentss covered on the DVD is with an IL-62 HAV-BOG. One thing thats very obvious is that the flight deck equipment is OLD. The only modern piece of equipment appears to be the haphazardly installed GPS system. The radar is antiquated, and there's no onbaord computer, so the crew uses paper nav maps, and has to calculate fuel, weight and balance, etc. by hand using a calculator. I find is nearly impossible for CU to make any money using the IL-62. It takes four people to fly the plane: pilot, first officer, flight engineer, and navigator, and its notorius for its high level of fuell burn.
What's impressive though is the inflight meal service. Full meals with free alcohol on relatively short flights such as HAV-BOG (2hr 50min), and SJO-HAV (2hr 40min). Although when they check out the galley, it appears that CU has pilfered a lot of catering implements (pitchers, glassware) from AOM as these things had the AOM logo.
Carmenlu15 From Guatemala, joined Dec 2004, 4747 posts, RR: 33 Reply 10, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 5651 times:
I remember that incident from an air emergency course... Takeoff was aborted because one of the engines wasn't working, so they had the flight engineer get off the plane and hit the engine with a hammer to make it start. Once working, the plane went down the runway, going faster and faster, preparing to take off... which did not happen.
TimeForFlight From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 267 posts, RR: 0 Reply 11, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 5595 times:
Quoting Aifos (Reply 9): By the way if you have never traveled to this beautiful island, you don't know what you miss... People are wonderful and generous.
You couldn't be more correct! It's an amazing nation with amazing people! It's sad that most US citizens think it's a horrible place - they've never heard a thing about the island other than the fact there's an embargo and Castro is the leader! I had the priviledge of hearing Castro speak for 3.5 hours 18 months ago and while I don't agree with him on everything, I can guarantee you he's smarter than most US politicians.
As far as Cubana goes - I doubt Castro would let the airline fly if it was unsafe. After all, it is many travellers' first impression of Cuba.
FLY2LIM From United States of America, joined May 2004, 1183 posts, RR: 10 Reply 13, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 5546 times:
Quoting TimeForFlight (Reply 11): You couldn't be more correct! It's an amazing nation with amazing people! It's sad that most US citizens think it's a horrible place - they've never heard a thing about the island other than the fact there's an embargo and Castro is the leader! I had the privilege of hearing Castro speak for 3.5 hours 18 months ago and while I don't agree with him on everything, I can guarantee you he's smarter than most US politicians.
Who couldn't be more correct about what? This "amazing nation" is one where you are not free to choose anything about your life. You work for the people, a concept called "communism". Most US citizens don't think it's a horrible place. But it is a place that US citizens are not ALLOWED to visit.
Fidel Castro is a communist who is also one of the richest men in the world. That alone is a contradiction in terms. He has taken this wealth from the coffers in his country. He is smart, for sure. He has figured out a way to oppress millions of people for his own personal gain.
One thing I dislike more is the American who has visited Cuba once or twice and now considers him/herself an authority on the country. The sad truth about Cuba is that visitors are restricted as to what they can and cannot see. The "party" controls everything and it's a place that's filled with corruption, graft, and bureaucracy. People here call W a "dictator" but they have no idea what a real dictator is. By the way, I dislike W but even he is wonderful compared to a dictator. Would any American want to go live there under the current conditions and be told what to say, what to think, where to work, and how to live? I think not.
So, I have never visited Cuba. However, I have spoken to expatriates who have lived and done business there. I have also talked to people who have visited the island. I have also lived in a country run by a military dictatorship. There is a reason why there are only a couple of those left in the world. Communism does not work. Finally, I also have a passport that would allow me entry into Cuba with no questions, but I choose not to visit. To me, visiting Cuba and bringing my foreign money only helps one person and further punishes the innocent citizens of that country.
Besides my own personal opinion of the country, I would never fly Cubana because of their tarnished safety record, well documented in history.
LPLAspotter From Portugal, joined Jan 2005, 682 posts, RR: 1 Reply 14, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 5509 times:
Quoting FLY2LIM (Reply 13): Who couldn't be more correct about what? This "amazing nation" is one where you are not free to choose anything about your life. You work for the people, a concept called "communism". Most US citizens don't think it's a horrible place. But it is a place that US citizens are not ALLOWED to visit.
I could never understand this. US citizens are free to travel to communist countries like China, Vietnam, Laos, etc.. What's the big deal with Cuba? I guess this question is not appropriate in the civil aviation forum, but somebody else started it and I'd like to hear some opinions.
Bullpitt From Spain, joined Mar 2004, 871 posts, RR: 9 Reply 15, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 5495 times:
Very interesting FLY2LIM, you live in a country where your not ALLOWED to visit Cuba. That's very democratic. As I said before thank god I live in one of the few free countries left in the world.
Cuba is a small country fighting for its dignity against an unjust neighbour who has never doubted in using even terrorism to put it on her knees. Let's not forget that the USA has and still protects a man accused of placing a bomb in a cubana flight that caused 73 dead. A man financed and supported by the CIA.
These are my principles but if you don't like them I have others
B744F From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 0 posts, RR: 0 Reply 16, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 5482 times:
Cuba doesn't have oil and cheap labor can be found in said other "good" communist countries, so the ban will not be lifted. Oh and a few American corporations are still upset about their assets being seized during the revolution.
Katekebo From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 684 posts, RR: 6 Reply 17, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 5445 times:
Back to safety question. Accordingly to airdisaster.com:
Cubana: 8 events (accidents with fatalities) in 0.33 million cycles (flights), which result in an accident rate of 24 events per million cycles.
US/Canada average is approx. 0.5 events per million cycles
Latin America / Caribbean average is approx. 1.5 events per million cycles
Europe is approx. 1.0
Cubana has the worst rate among all major airlines, followed by Aeroperu with 16.7 events per million cycles and Air Zimbabwe with 12.5 events per million cycles.
While this statistics do not tell 100% of the story, it's clear that Cubana safety performance is far from stellar.
Finally, regarding Bullpit's (nice nickname) comment that USA is protecting Luis Posada - this is not entirely true. He has been arrested recently on immigration violations and US authorities are considering his deportation to Venezuela (Cuba's best friend) where he is wanted in relation to bombing of the Cubana airplane.
LVZXV From Gabon, joined Mar 2004, 2041 posts, RR: 38 Reply 20, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 5398 times:
An interesting if overly politicised discussion. I have a few points to make, before which I'd like to clarify that I am not Cuban, have not visited the island, and do not have an axe to grind against the US as a country.
Statistically yes, Cubana do not have a good record. However, one thing I've noticed with airlines around the world is that sometimes a record is just that: a record. Think of how "unsafe" airlines like China Airlines or Korean Air became based on their poor records during the '90s, yet they have since improved and people still fly on them en masse. Talk about unsafe, think about the American DC-10 crash in Chicago exactly 26 years ago, or the terrifying maintenance practices of Alaska airlines which brought down one of their MD-83s in such horrific circumstances. Are there passenger numbers down for any other reason than the current global aviation crisis? No.
1998 was a terrible year for Cubana, I won't argue with that. The Tu-154 should have never left the ground at Quito for one thing, and four months later Cubana became one of the few airlines to lose two aircraft in less than a week.
But they responded to those disasters. Their remaining Tu-154s were retired soon thereafter, as were their Yak-40s. I cannot remember the last time they lost an Il-62 or Yak-42, the mainstays of their current fleet, or even an An-24 for that matter. I do not know what goes on in Cubana's hangars these days, but for the most part, they seem to be flying safely.
I do know some people who have flown Cubana in recent years who claimed they have never been so terrified in all their lives, but something I've noticed is that almost any Westerner finds at least their first couple of flights aboard a Russian aircraft a little unnerving to say the least.
Although a different kettle of fish, my father flies a Yak-52, and I can assure you, it is not a gentle plane. If you're used to Cessnas, Pipers or what have you, the Yak will certainly get your adrenal glands pumping! I'd imagine the difference between an A320 and an Il-62 is much the same.
And it is true, since the collapse of the USSR, spare parts for Russian aircraft are neither as abundant nor readily available as they used to be. Aeronica found it impossible to maintain their Tupolevs after the Cold War ended, and of all countries, Peru has probably suffered the biggest headaches in terms of maintaining Russian aircraft, of which their Armed Forces are largely comprised.
I don't really want to delve into the political differences between Cuba and the US any more than I want to bring up the Basque conflict among Basques and Spaniards. And I don't think that any of you, irrespective of your nationality or political leaning, need reminding that things are never black or white.
Latinplane From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 2666 posts, RR: 14 Reply 21, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 5336 times:
It is worth mentioning that Cubana's maintenance is handled by Cubana's subsidiary IBECA, which is a company that is 50/50 owned by Iberia and Cubana de Aviacion. They can handle maintenace on all Boeing aircraft as well as A320s, A330s, and A340s. IBECA is certified by the EASA, The European Aviation Safety Agency to handle third party work.
Luisde8cd From Pitcairn Islands, joined Aug 2004, 2521 posts, RR: 32 Reply 22, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 5309 times:
Cubana flies a couple of times a week between HAV and CCS. Since 1999 there has been 2 crashes. A YAK-42 crashed on Dec 1999 while on approach to Valencia (diverted to VLN because CCS was closed down because of floods surrounding CCS), all dead.
On march 2005 an IL-18 crashed after an aborted take off. This time thank god no one died. Route was CCS-HAV.
A carrier that flies less than daily to CCS and has had 2 crashes in 5 years, doesn't sound safe to me.
LVZXV From Gabon, joined Mar 2004, 2041 posts, RR: 38 Reply 24, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 5178 times:
Quoting LPLAspotter (Reply 23): I liked your post-interesting. However, did you mean Yak-42? I don't mean to be picky, but I really want to understand everything. What airline does your father work for?
Thanks! My father's not particularly fond of level flight, hence the Yak he flies is indeed a -52, identical to this one: