Airlines Get OK to Book Direct Commercial Flights to Cuba

American Airlines
American Airlines is one of the companies expected to take quick advantage of the opportunity to provide regular commercial flights to Cuba.  Photo: wikipedia.org

HAVANA TIMES — The governments of Cuba and the United States agreed to restore direct commercial flights between the two countries after more than half a century, the US State Department announced today, reported dpa news.

The agreement, which comes a year after the initial reestablishment of relations, should enable regular air links for the first time since the 60s. Interested companies must now come to terms with Cuban authorities to incorporate routes.

Until now you could only fly between the US and Cuba on charter flights or through third countries. The two governments reached the agreement on Wednesday, said a State Department spokesman. The Cuban side had informed earlier in the week that the two countries were finalizing “an understanding” during negotiations that took place in Washington.

“This agreement will continue to allow charter flights and establish regular air service, which will facilitate an increase in the authorized travel and expand travel options,” said the US statement.

Trips to Cuba from the US have skyrocketed in the last 12 months after the announcement of the thaw. Tourism industry experts expect this year for 600,000 people travel to the Caribbean island from the United States.

As part of the rapprochement with the government in Havana, the administration of Barack Obama this year eased travel restrictions for US citizens to Cuba. While the travel ban on tourism is still in effect (as part of the US embargo against Cuba) the visitors are authorized to travel under 12 categories, such as cultural exchanges or for family reasons for Cuban-Americans.

A few days ago the two countries also announced the reestablishment of direct mail after more than a half century.


15 thoughts on “Airlines Get OK to Book Direct Commercial Flights to Cuba

  • In other words, rather than refute the FACTS that I have presented, you choose to simply call me names and claim to know more than me because. …..? Typical strategy when the truth hurts.

  • You are clueless even though you continuously prop every argument you initiate with pseudo intellectual nonfacts. It’s too bad you take up space and pretend to know what’s up, there are many people who are in real contact with genuine information, once again I forgot to scroll over your post and allowed myself to be feed a troll. Since I am in Cuba doing real work with real people I have no nostalgia,and no need of time wasting. Just facts. I’ll stay aligned with the brilliant businessmen I know both American and Cuban. Knowledge is power. Sabes ya? Bastante.

  • You seem, like many Cubans, anxious to see quick fixes bring a semblance of normalcy to life in Cuba. Keep in mind that the Castros have had 57 years to f*ck things up there. There is a HUGE difference between the announcement in this post and a normal travel profile to/from Cuba. The fact is that more foreign carriers have left Cuba recently than have started services. Landing fees in Havana are relatively expensive. Flight crews complain about hotel accommodations. Airline support services leave much to be desired. US carriers are known to be as demanding as any carrier around the world. Don’t make any plans to travel on US carriers to Cuba just yet.

  • I simply disagree. Airline support services throughout the Caribbean are staffed with US-managed and US trained personnel. Where did you receive your in-flight training? Unless the Castros are willing to let an American Airlines engineer be in charge at Jose Marti, an agreement will be a challenge. I agree that US airlines are anxious to lock down the routes. But like so many of the prospective business relationships in Cuba, there’s a big difference between beginning the negotiations and concluding the deal. Will US Air Marshalls have authority on US flagged aircraft in Cuban airspace? Will fuel shipments be subject to Cuban authorities? The devil is in the details. Cubans have had 57 years to get their act together. How has that worked out so far? More than 7000 Cubans stranded in Costa Rica don’t seem to be as optimistic as you are. Then again, as a flight attendant in the US, your life is very different. You can afford to be optimistic and probably a bit nostalgic as well. I’m not negative CUBACAROLINA. I’m just realistic.

  • Fidel long ago froze out his acknowledged 8 offspring from playing a meaningful role in running the country. Only Raul’s son and son-in-law appear to have any real role in official Cuban matters. Raul’s daughter Mariel is an internationally recognized figure-head in LGBT issues but does not have a substantive role in Cuban matters either. Antonio Castro is a well known international playboy to the Cuban people. As a result, although his comments seem level-headed, they fall on deaf ears among Cuban decision-makers.

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