The association representing the more than 360 Spanish firms with operations in Cuba asked Iberia airline and Spain's government Tuesday for the carrier to reverse its decision to eliminate service between Havana and Madrid.

In letters to Iberia chief Antonio Vazquez and Spanish Development Minister Ana Pastor, the association expressed its "deep concern" about the upcoming suspension of Iberia flights between Spain and Cuba.

"We know the elimination of this and other routes to the Caribbean will have a negative effect on our productive activities as well as on the growing and, right now, very profitable economic relations between the Iberian Peninsula and the island (Cuba)," the letters said.

The business group recalled that Spain is the island's third-largest trade partner and the largest in the European Union, while noting that, despite the recession, Spanish sales to Cuba grew by 9.5 percent in 2011.

Spain's minister of industry, energy and tourism, Jose Manuel Soria, said last week it is "unacceptable" that to fly from Spain to Havana one has to go through London, and asked Iberia to keep its routes to Latin America.

In his opinion, Iberia ought to continue offering its service on routes to Latin America because this market is very important for Spain and for the airline, and there is absolutely "no reason" to lose it. EFE