Virgin Atlantic has confirmed that its planned resumption of flights to Havana this November has been axed.

The move comes just weeks after the carrier announced plans to operate a thrice-weekly service between London Heathrow and Havana, with social media posts stating that “After what feels like forever, we’re thrilled to be restarting flights to Havana on the 1st November”.

A Business Traveller reader alerted us to the change of heart, and a Virgin Atlantic spokesperson has provided us with the following statement:

“As we emerge from the pandemic we’ve had to make careful decisions about our network, with regular review of flying and holiday schedules. We’re disappointed to confirm that due to the unique complexities of Cuban operations, we have taken the difficult decision to withdraw plans to start London Heathrow – Havana services.

“Affected customers will be contacted from this weekend to inform them of the cancellations and their options, including a travel voucher or a full refund for their cancelled flight or package holiday. Those who booked via a third party such as a travel agent should contact them directly for their options.

“We sincerely apologise for disrupting customers’ plans to visit this vibrant and much-loved leisure destination. In recent years Virgin Atlantic operated the UK’s only direct scheduled flights to Havana, working closely with valued partners in Cuba. We will keep options under review to return to this unique part of the Caribbean in the future.”

Virgin last operated flights to Cuba (from Gatwick) on March 23, 2020, and said that “As it stands, we do not have plans to operate the service in Winter 2023”.

The carrier said that customers with flight-only bookings can opt to rebook up to December 2023, convert their booking to a travel voucher or request a cash refund, while those with package holiday bookings can either request a refund or a voucher to be used against a new holiday.

There are currently no other carriers offering direct, nonstop flights between the UK and Cuba’s capital.