US, Cuba to resume commercial flights

US, Cuba to resume commercial flights

The Obama administration is taking steps to reestablish commercial flights between the U.S. and Cuba, Transportation Secretary Anthony FoxxAnthony FoxxDC mayor touts progress in reducing traffic deaths Toll roads poised to boom under Trump plan Transportation chief urges Trump to press forward on self-driving cars MORE said Friday.

Beginning on Tuesday, U.S. airlines will have 15 days to apply for routes between the two countries. Foxx and State Department officials will fly from Washington to Cuba to sign the agreement.

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“Leaving aside the political differences, there's so many cultural connections between the two countries, in some cases family connections, the ability to have educational exchanges and things that happen as a result of resumption of this service, is really, really significant,” Foxx told CNN.

The agreement will provide for as many as 110 daily, round-trip flights between the U.S. and Cuba, including 20 daily flights to Havana and 10 others to airports outside the capital city. 

Once the routes are established, it would mark the first time in 50 years that Americans can fly commercially from the U.S. to the communist island nation. Previously, the only way to get there from the U.S. was on charter flights. 

It’s the latest step in President Obama’s effort to normalize relations with Cuba after the two countries announced they would formally reestablish diplomatic ties at the end of 2014.