Commercial flights linking US-Cuba expected to resume in autumn

17th Feb 2016
Commercial flights linking US-Cuba expected to resume in autumn

Commercial flights between the United States and Cuba are set to resume for the first time in 50 years following the signing of an agreement between the two countries.

A small number of charter flights presently operate between the two destinations, but capacity is expected to rise significantly as mainline airlines return.

More than 100 flights a day are envisaged under the deal, five times the current number.

The flights could begin in autumn this year, with United States transportation secretary Anthony Foxx branding the latest deal a “critically important milestone in the US effort to engage with Cuba”.

Major US carriers are expected to enthusiastically support the move, with United Airlines issuing its support earlier.

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A statement from the carrier read: “United Airlines today applauded the historic signing by representatives of the United States and Cuba governments of a formal arrangement to reinstitute air service between the two countries.”

The US imposed a trade embargo on the communist-run island in 1960.

In late 2014, Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro announced that they would begin normalising their relationship.

Cuba reopened its embassy in Washington in July 2015 and a month later, the US reopened its embassy in Havana.

The White House is contemplating a possible presidential trip to Cuba in the final year of Obama’s administration.

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