According to the Transport Department’s official website, flights by approved airlines American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Silver Airways, Southwest Airlines and SunCountry Airlines, could commence as early as this fall.
Flights will depart from five U.S. cities (Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, Minneapolis and Philadelphia) to nine Cuban destinations: Camagüey, Cayo Coco, Cayo Largo, Cienfuegos, Holguín, Manzanillo, Matanzas, Santa Clara and Santiago de Cuba.
In a statement, U.S. Secretary of Transport Anthony Foxx, recalled the words of President Barack Obama who emphasized the need to “begin a new journey” with Cuba. “Today, we are delivering on his promise by re-launching scheduled air service to Cuba after more than half a century,” the text reads.
The announcement comes off the back of an agreement on direct flights between the U.S. and Cuba, reached this past February.
The accord allows for 110 regular daily flights between both counties, including 20 to Havana and the remainder to some nine other airports nationwide.
According to the Transport Department website, “Under the new arrangement, each country has the opportunity to operate up to 10 daily roundtrip flights between the U.S. and each of Cuba’s nine international airports, other than Havana, for a total of 90 daily roundtrips. Longer term, the arrangement also provides for up to 20 daily roundtrip flights between the U.S. and Havana. Collectively, U.S. carriers have requested nearly 60 flights per day to Havana, thus requiring DOT (the Department of Transport) to select from among the proposals. A decision on the Havana routes will be announced later this summer.”
Civil aviation agreements form part of several measures adopted by Obama to modify certain aspects of the blockade, since December 17, 2014. However, the bulk of the aggressive policy remains in force and U.S. citizens are still prohibited from traveling to Cuba for the purposes of tourism.