Cubana: A Caribbean Survivor
Cubana: A Caribbean Survivor; Airlines Series, Vol. 10
Authored by: Barry Lloyd
In October 2022, Cubana de Aviación celebrated its 93rd birthday. The flag carrier of Cuba has been on a very colourful journey since being founded on 8 October 1929, when it began as little more than a flying club before entering the world of commercial aviation as a mail carrier. In the 1920s and ’30s, Cuba found itself as the first choice for film stars and other celebrities wanting to relax, giving Cubana a steady income from American visitors, who were flown in on its DC-3s, DC-4s and C-46s.
Then came the Revolution, which ended in 1959, after which Fidel Castro nationalised the smaller Cuban airlines under the Cubana umbrella. The relationship with the US, which had initially approved of Castro’s actions, soon began to sour after Castro’s government seized vast areas of land, much of which was owned by US investors. The US then imposed an embargo in 1962, choking the Cuban economy.
This left Cubana with only the Soviet Union to turn to for new equipment, and thus it became the largest operator of Soviet-built aircraft in the Western world. This has not been without its problems, however, as the fall of the Soviet Union and recent events in Russia and Ukraine have made operating these aircraft even more challenging. With over 100 images, this book records the highs and lows of the airline throughout its 93 years of operations.