The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) approved the requests of six U.S. airlines to resume and provide passenger air services between the U.S and Cuba.
"Last year, President Obama announced that it was time to ‘begin a new journey’ with the Cuban people,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a news release. “Today, we are delivering on his promise by re-launching scheduled air service to Cuba after more than half a century.”
Domestic flights to Cuba, except Havana, are set to begin from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, Philadelphia and Minneapolis/St. Paul. Under the agreement, the countries can operate up to 10 daily roundtrip flights between the U.S. and nine international airports in Cuba, in the cities of Camagüey, Cayo Coco, Cayo Largo, Cienfuegos, Holguín, Manzanillo, Matanzas, Santa Clara and Santiago de Cuba.
Out of the seven requests to the DOT, the department granted applications to only six of the airlines who applied: American Airline, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airlines, Sliver Airways, Southwest Airlines and MN Airlines (Sun Country).
DOT deferred action on the seventh proposal, brought forward by Eastern Air Lines, because the airline did not complete necessary licensing, and is currently approved for charter flights only.
Although flights will open up, a trade embargo on Cuba remains in place, therefore, passengers must still justify their trips, according to Chicago Business.