US approves flights to Havana, Cuba

US approves flights to Havana, Cuba
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Eight commercial airlines in the U.S. have been approved to fly to Havana, which is Cuba's capital and most popular tourist destination, the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced Thursday.

The move is part of the Obama’s administration's push to normalize relations with Cuba, and it follows six U.S. airlines receiving approval to fly to other cities on the island.

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The airlines that have been awarded a flight route to Havana are Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines and United Airlines.

Beginning as early as this fall, flights to Cuba’s capital will take off from Atlanta; Charlotte, N.C.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Houston; Los Angeles; Miami; Newark, N.J.; New York; Orlando, Fla.; and Tampa, Fla.

“Today we take another important step toward delivering on President Obama’s promise to reengage Cuba,” Transportation Secretary Anthony FoxxAnthony Renard FoxxBig Dem names show little interest in Senate Lyft sues New York over new driver minimum pay law Lyft confidentially files for IPO MORE said.

“Restoring regular air service holds tremendous potential to reunite Cuban-American families and foster education and opportunities for American businesses of all sizes.”

In February, Foxx and Charles Rivkin, assistant secretary for economic and business affairs at the State Department, signed an agreement to re-establish scheduled air service between the U.S. and Cuba.

Traveling to the island is still subject to numerous restrictions, including no tourist travel.

Major airlines had been competing for a limited number of flights to Cuba. United Airlines also pushed for a direct route to Havana from Washington, D.C. — which would have would connected lawmakers and diplomats in the two capitals — but did not succeed.

The DOT said it allocated Havana service to cities that have substantial Cuban-American populations and important aviation hubs.

Objections to the agency’s tentative decision are due by July 22.