The Obama administration on Friday authorized six American air carriers to begin direct flights to Cuba as soon as this fall, paving the way for the resumption of scheduled air travel between the United States and Cuba for the first time in more than 50 years. The Department of Transportation said it had approved applications from American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Silver Airways,Southwest Airlines and Sun Country Airlines to begin flying to Cuba from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis/St. Paul.
The service approved on Friday will fly to nine Cuban cities, including Cayo Largo, Cienfuegos, Matanzas, and Santiago de Cuba. The Transportation Department said it would announce routes to the Cuban capital, Havana, later this year.
United States officials signed an agreement with Cuban authorities in February to allow for re-establishing scheduled flights — including 20 daily round-trip flights to Havana — and the Department of Transportation invited American carriers to apply. Interest in flying to Havana was overwhelming; the airlines applied for three times as many flights daily as the agreement allows, and the administration is still choosing among those proposals. (Read more at NYT)