Following the June announcement allowing six US commercial airline carriers to fly to various airports in Cuba , the US Department of Transportation has proposed to award eight airlines with the prized flights to Havana, giving 10 US airports at least one weekly direct flight to the city. Twelve airlines originally applied for the opportunity to schedule passenger and cargo service to Havana.
American Airlines received the most daily flights, with routes departing from its hub in Miami and from Charlotte. Alaska Airlines secured the single flight linking the US west coast with the island, with planes departing from Los Angeles. Southwest Airlines, Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines will be operating from various cities in Florida, and United Airlines will have flights from Houston Bush Intercontinental and Newark. JetBlue will also host flights from Fort Lauderdale, New York JFK and Orlando.
“Today we take another important step toward delivering on President Obama’s promise to reengage Cuba,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Restoring regular air service holds tremendous potential to reunite Cuban American families and foster education and opportunities for American businesses of all sizes.”
Under the original agreement made between the US and Cuba in February 2016 regarding travel, each country is allowed to operate up to 10 daily roundtrip flights connecting American cities with nine of Cuba’s international airports, excluding Havana, totalling 90 daily roundtrips. Only 20 roundtrip flights are allowed in and out of the capital each day.
This decision is currently tentative, and objections and comments from interested parties are due to the DOT by 22 July; a final decision is expected later this summer.