Cubana Develops International Routes
During the post-war era, Cuba established itself
as an international and intercontinental airline,
opening routes in North America and inaugurating trans-Atlantic
service to Europe. At the same time, the fleet was
constantly upgraded, and service was maintained to
the highest international standards.
The first international service was Miami-Havana,
started on 15 May 1946 with Douglas DC-3s. DC-3s and
C-46s continued to be used on domestic routes. A significant
event was the inauguration of trans-Atlantic service
from Havana-Madrid, via Bermuda and the Azores, on
26 April 1948 with Douglas DC-4s, leased from Pan
American (fig. 23).
Other services were added in 1953: from Varadero Beach-Miami
on 23 January, Havana-Mexico City on 17 September,
and Havana-Port-au-Prince on 28 November.
Cubana’s own 300-mph Lockheed L-049 Constellations
entered service on the trans-Atlantic route on 15
June 1953 (fig. 24)
and this prestigious service was augmented on 22 Nov.
1954 with Lockheed L-1049E Super Constellations. Nonstop
Havana-New York service started on 12 May 1956 with
Lockheed L-1049G Super Constellations (fig. 25),
and in August 1956 the new Vickers Viscount turbopropeller
airliners entered service on the Havana-Miami route
Cubana really showed the flag when, on 22 December
1958, it introduced the 400-mph Bristol Britannia
318 long-range turboprops on the route to Mexico City
This was followed, spectacularly, in March 1959 when
the Britannias were placed on the New York route.
Cubana was in the position of offering strong competition
to the rival U.S. carrier, and on 17 January 1959
had beaten the Havana-New York record time, flying
the 1,317 miles in 3hr 28m, at an average block speed
of 380 mph. On 5 June 1959, the Britannias went on
to the trans-Atlantic route.
Cuba celebrated the International Post Card Week
in 1958 with a “hand back” souvenir postcard
which is called a “philatelic souvenir.”
It bears two cachets, (1) one commemorating the
International Postcard Week, Second Year, and (2) commemorating
the International Week of the Airmail Postcard, Second
Note that the card is not addressed but was handed
over the postal counter. The clerk cancelled the stamp,
which was placed on the card because the postal clerk
would not apply the cachets without the customer buying
a stamp first. The two cachets were applied as souvenirs,
and then handed it back to the customer.
fig. 29 (detail of fig. 28)