Commercial flights from the US to Cuba have resumed as of the 1st of September as the Obama administration makes new agreement.
About 20 airlines have been authorised to run commercial routes from the US to Cuba. Low cost Jet Blue started to deliver flights from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Santa Clara, Camaguey, and Holguin from September 1st.
US-Cuban relations have notably improved since president Obama’s announcement of the effort on his visit to Cuba on December 17, 2014.
There are no flights to Havana yet. Airline companies requested nearly triple the 20 daily flights made available by new US-Cuba agreements and the American Department of Transport (DOT) is analysing the situation.
Direct tourism remains disallowed, with some Americans still flying to Canada or Mexico first in order to reach the Caribbean island for example. The current deal allows travel for reasons included in 12 categories of authorized travel, including family visits, education, art, business and humanitarian aid.
US travellers will be able to import $400 of goods, and no more than $100 of alcohol or tobacco products such as Cuba’s rum and cigars.
Potential fliers welcome these changes as an alternative to expensive chartered flights that circled the law in flying US passengers to Cuba.
“We are proud to be the first U.S. airline to serve Cuba”, said Robin Hayes, president and chief executive officer, JetBlue.
It was also the first time an American carrier operated a jetliner from the US to Cuba, since before in the 1960’s US airlines only flew propeller-powered aircraft.