Tuesday, February 16, 2016

US authorizes up to 110 daily flights to Cuba

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."

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.

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 travel.

"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.

"And also allowed to fly 10 scheduled frequencies per day to any other city in Cuba that has an airport open to international service."...
 [AFP - ahram.org.eg]
16/2/16

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