US authorizes up to 110 daily flights to Cuba
By Aldo Gamboa
Washington (AFP) – The United States and Cuba will sign an agreement
Tuesday authorizing up to 110 daily US commercial flights to Havana and
nine other destinations in the communist island, restoring regular air
travel for the first time in more than 50 years.
Once the accord is signed, US authorities will immediately invite
American airlines to submit applications to operate the flights, with
routes to be set up in a matter of months, officials said.
Additionally, the Cuban government will give “thorough consideration to
future requests from the US government to increase this level of
service,” US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Transportation
Affairs Thomas Engle said.
“The two governments reaffirm their commitment to strengthen their
already close cooperation in aviation safety and security matters.”
– Multiple destinations –
Terms of the agreement allow for regular flights “between any city in
the US and any city in Cuba,” provided it is equipped with proper
infrastructure for international flights, he added.
A sign shows the departure times for flights to Cuba at Miami
International Airport (AFP Photo/Joe R …
The United States announced plans to resume the flights in December, on
the one-year anniversary of the start of reconciliation between
Washington and Havana.
Under the new arrangement, airlines in the two countries can now strike
deals in such areas as code-sharing and aircraft leasing, the Cuban
embassy said at the time.
However, tourist travel is still barred under the trade embargo that the
United States slapped on Cuba in 1960 after Fidel Castro came to power
in a revolution.
The US Treasury Department has, however, set 12 categories of authorized
“Initially, the US carriers will be allowed to fly 20 scheduled
frequencies per day to Havana, the largest market, and remember that the
current level is zero,” Engle said.
US Secretary of State John Kerry formally visited Cuba to re-open the
American embassy in August 201 …
“And also allowed to fly 10 scheduled frequencies per day to any other
city in Cuba that has an airport open to international service.”
Besides Havana, flights will be allowed to Camaguey, Cayo Coco, Cayo
Largo, Cienfuegos, Holguin, Manzanillo, Matanzas, Santa Clara and
Santiago de Cuba.
Although the understanding formally opens the door for Cubana airlines
to operate future flights into the United States, none are allowed to
arrive at present.
– Call for applications –
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs
Brandon Belford said Cuban airlines will still have to obtain their own
licenses from US authorities such as the Treasury Department and Office
of Foreign Assets Control.
“So we do not anticipate Cuban-owned aircraft serving the US in the near
future,” he said.
Later on Tuesday, the Treasury Department will invite US airlines to
submit applications for allocation of the new frequencies.
Belford said “carriers will have 15 days to submit their applications if
they want to serve Havana and the other nine airports.”
All final decisions will be made in approximately half a year.
“Our expectation is that we will be in position to make a decision and
make it final sometime in the summer, in terms of which carriers and
which US cities will have service into Cuba,” Belford said.
Commercial flights between Cuba and the United States were cancelled 53
years ago but since the mid-1970s authorized charter flights have been
allowed under certain conditions.
The United States and Cuba formally restored diplomatic relations in
July and re-opened embassies in each other’s capitals.
Source: US authorizes up to 110 daily flights to Cuba – Yahoo News –