A New Regime
After the people’s revolution against the Batista
government, Fidel Castro officially took office as
President of Cuba on 16 February 1959. Political realities
created a crisis for the national airline, as supplies
of spare parts were abruptly stopped, while air agreements
and operating rights to some countries were canceled.
In particular, Cuba’s new friend and ally,
the Soviet Union, was a long way away. But methods
were found to overcome the difficulties, and Cubana
continued to serve the nation, albeit in different
directions and with different equipment.
In February 1961 an agreement was reached with the
Czechoslovak airline, C.S.A., to operate the Britannias
on a service from Havana to Prague while the Constellation
service was maintained to New York. Service was resumed
Soviet piston-engined Ilyushin Il-14s were put into
service on domestic routes in October 1961, and on
23 December 1962 Ilyushin Il-18 four-engined turboprops
started service on the Mexico City route and also
between the main cities of Cuba (fig. 30).