The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has revealed the six domestic airlines that will launch scheduled flights to Cuba starting this autumn. The announcement, made on June 10, disclosed that American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Silver Airways, Southwest Airlines and Sun County Airlines have all been granted licenses to fly to the Caribbean nation. This is the latest stage in the Obama Administration’s efforts to normalise relations with Cuba and follows the signing of a non-legally-binding arrangement to re-establish scheduled air services between the two countries signed by Anthony Foxx, US Transport Secretary, and Charles Rivkin the Department of State’s Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs in February.
Foxx commented: “Last year, President Obama announced that it was time to ‘begin a new journey’ with the Cuban people. Today, we are delivering on his promise by re-launching scheduled air services to Cuba after more than half a century.”
Under the agreement, each country has the opportunity to operate up to ten daily return flights between the five US cities of Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, Philadelphia and Minneapolis/St Paul to each of Cuba’s nine international airports, other than Havana. In the longer term, the deal also provides up to 20 daily rotations between the US and the Cuban capital. According to DOT figures, US carriers have requested nearly 60 flights per day to Havana, thus requiring the agency to select from among the many proposals. It says a decision on the Havana routes will be announced later this summer.