As the US and Cuba’s relationship continues to thaw after half a century of tension, airline travel to the island nation will become more common.
On Friday, the Department of Transportation announced that six airlines will be allowed to operate scheduled service from five US cities to Cuba.
“Last year, President Obama announced that it was time to ‘begin a new journey’ with the Cuban people,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement.
“Today, we are delivering on his promise by re-launching scheduled air service to Cuba after more than half a century.”
Thus far, the DOT has approved scheduled flights from Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia, Ft. Lauderdale, and Minneapolis/ St. Paul.
Frontier Airlines will be responsible for operating flights out of Chicago and Philadelphia. American Airlines will operate flights from Miami while Sun Country will be responsible for flights from Minneapolis/St. Paul.
JetBlue, Silver Airways, and Southwest will all operate flights to Cuba out of Ft. Lauderdale. Thus far, the six airlines have been approved to operate 90 scheduled daily flights to nine Cuban cities including Camagüey, Cayo Coco, Cayo Largo, Cienfuegos, Holguín, Manzanillo, Matanzas, Santa Clara, and Santiago de Cuba.
However, the DOT is not expected to finalise flight allocations to Havana until later this summer.
Over the past couple of years, companies around the country have organised charter flights to Cuba using American, JetBlue, and Sun Country aircraft. According to the DOT, those charter services will continue as before.
The DOT expects most of the airlines to begin scheduled operations to Cuba in the Fall or Winter of 2016.