Six US airlines licensed to start Cuba flights
Six US airlines have been licensed to operate up to 90 round-trip flights per day to Cuba, potentially opening up a new era for mass tourism.
The US Department of Transportation announced the licenses on Friday, as the former Cold War foes continue to negotiate a new relationship now that decades of enmity are over.
"Last year, President Obama announced that it was time to begin a new journey with the Cuban people," Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said.
"Today, we are delivering on his promise by re-launching scheduled air service to Cuba after more than half a century."
Cuba and the United States restored diplomatic ties in July 2015 after a long stand-off, and in February this year agreed to resume flights.
On Friday, Foxx awarded licenses to American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue, Silver Airways, Southwest and Sun Country Airlines.
They will each be permitted to operate flights from their hubs in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Philadelphia.
The Cuban cities served will be Camaguey, Cayo Coco, Cayo Largo, Cienfuegos, Holguín, Manzanillo, Matanzas, Santa Clara and Santiago de Cuba.
US airlines also asked to serve the Cuban capital Havana, but requests exceeded the slots available so officials are sorting through the requests.
A decision on the Havana routes will be made later this summer and all the flights could begin this fall, the department said.
© 2016 AFP