US and Cuba Meeting to Normalize Direct Airline Service

Havana's Jose Marti Airport. Foto: cubadebate.cu
Havana’s Jose Marti Airport. Foto: cubadebate.cu

HAVANA TIMES — US citizens wanting to book a regular flight online to Cuba,  impossible for decades, may soon be a reality. Representative of the US and Cuban governments will meet next week in Havana to study the restoration of regular commercial flights, the White House confirmed to dpa news on Tuesday.

“A delegation from the US government will meet with its Cuban counterpart to try and advance the establishment of regular commercial flights between the two countries and discuss aviation security.” The White House official said the meeting will be held in Havana on September 28 and 29.

While strictly tourist trips to the island are still banned b the US embargo, last week the US government eased travel restrictions imposed by the US legislation and imposed on the island since the 60’s.

The measure is part of the process of normalization of relations between the two countries.

“Increased travel to Cuba is a central objective of the new policy of president Obama,” said the White House representative who requested anonymity. “It will mean that Americans can more easily help the growth of civil society in Cuba and provide training for private entrepreneurs and small farmers,” he added.

Currently, those US citizens authorized to travel to the island can only do so on several charter flights. A number of US airlines have expressed interest to add Cuba to their destinations on regular commercial flights.

The US State Department said in August that travel to Cuba from the US increased by 35 percent since January.

“We are ready to offer regularly scheduled service as soon as the United States and Cuba allow commercial flights,” Art Torno, Vice President of American Airlines International and Cargo said back in August.

It is currently not possible to travel from the US to the island on a regular commercial flight of a US airline and book a ticket on the website of the airlines.

Cuban Americans with family in Cuba and US citizens authorized to travel to the island can reserve seats on charter flights through travel agencies authorized by Washington.

Since 2009, Cuban Americans can travel to the island to see their relatives without restrictions. In 2011 trips were extended to a limited number of other US citizens, such as family members, journalists, government officials, religious and humanitarian workers as well as different types of “people to people” educational, cultural, and professional group tours.

Since January of this year, following the easing of some aspects of the embargo, US citizens who fall within the 12 categories do not need to request permission from US authorities to travel to the island.

The US and Cuba resumed diplomatic relations on July 20th after 54 years of confrontation.


12 thoughts on “US and Cuba Meeting to Normalize Direct Airline Service

  • September 28, 2015 at 4:07 pm
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    Today Jet Blue announced more flights to Cuba

  • September 24, 2015 at 10:09 am
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    Not living in Havana, there is currently no access to the Internet, so I go silent.

  • September 24, 2015 at 5:53 am
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    I think Havana Times looks forward to your posts Carlyle! Please continue to keep us informed!

  • September 23, 2015 at 10:26 pm
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    Sorry to confuse you bjmack. Methuselah was not my younger brother. I was a Scot, now a Canadian. My wife is a Cuban. I have been around awhile and have experienced living in five countries and visited well over thirty. I can easily resist being associated with the Irish, who as you may know, will die for “the cause” without being quite able to define it. In the not too distant future I will have the joy of going home to Cuba and relieve folks and the Havana Times from being assailed by my views. Mind you, living in Cuba will no doubt stoke me up with additional opinion!

  • September 23, 2015 at 7:30 pm
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    Carlyle, you remind me of the Twilight Episode, Long Live Walter Jameson! Professor who lived thousands of years. You’ve lived in almost every country and God knows how old you really are! I had you as a Canadian, Cuban by marriage and now a Scotsman. Please don’t tell me you’re an Irish Citizen!

  • September 23, 2015 at 6:37 pm
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    I only experienced his influence as a Cub, then as a Scout and finally by starting a Scout troop in rural Scotland where the only hall available was that of the Church of Scotland. However the Minister agreed to my demand that Catholic boys as well as his ardent Presbyterians could use the facility.
    To me as a youngster, the real benefit was camping in the countryside.

  • September 23, 2015 at 6:31 pm
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    Didn’t realise you were quoting others! Glad for you that it wasn’t your mathematics. Thought you would have to fork out $60,000 a year and go back to Brentwood School! Now there is a difference between Canada and Cuba!

  • September 23, 2015 at 11:20 am
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    My father knew Baden – Powell

  • September 23, 2015 at 11:18 am
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    I never wrote that article. Most of the Chinese were investers

  • September 22, 2015 at 9:48 pm
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    Oh come on Gordon, do the mathematics! 28,239 out of a total of over 3 million (claimed by the regime you so admire) represents in your view a ” one of Cuba’s main sources of tourists”. You ought to know that the GAESA controlled hotels boast more than that number od bedrooms!
    China is able to provide more tourists because it has adopted capitalism. But like Putin’s Russia, the richest Chinese are flocking to London, England.

  • September 22, 2015 at 5:59 pm
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    China is also putting in flights to Cuba shortly.

    (Xinhua) Air China has confirmed that it will soon begin
    operating direct flights from Beijing to Havana, a move set to bring more Chinese tourists to the island.

    In 2014, China was one of Cuba’s main sources of tourists with 28,239 travellers heading there, a 27 percent rise compared with 2013.

  • September 22, 2015 at 3:47 pm
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    The White House is kidding itself. I look forward to discovering how “Americans can more easily help the growth of civil society in Cuba and provide training for entrepreneurs and small farmers.”
    Maybe they are going to emulate Baden-Powell and start the Boy Scouts of Cuba.

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