The United States has
given six airlines permission to operate
commercial flights to Cuba, which have
been barred for decades.
Maloney via Wikimedia
is one of six airlines
that will be offering
flights between the
U.S. and Cuba.
The U.S. Department of
Transportation announced licenses Friday
for American Airlines, Frontier
Airlines, JetBlue, Silver Airways,
Southwest Airlines and Sun Country
The airlines will fly
to nine cities in Cuba, but not Havana.
U.S. transportation officials said they
had yet to make a decision on flights to
the Cuban capital because interest from
airlines was much higher for those
routes and there were competing claims.
The routes approved
Friday include service from the U.S.
cities of Miami, Fort Lauderdale,
Chicago, Philadelphia and Minneapolis,
flying to such Cuban cities as Santa
Clara and Santiago de Cuba.
Final approval is still
required by the Cuban government, but
carriers said they hoped to begin
flights this fall.
U.S. law still
prohibits most tourist visits to Cuba.
However, President Barack Obama has
authorized exceptions for other types of
travel, including family visits,
official business, journalist visits and
In the last year and a
half, Cuba and the United States have
begun restoring diplomatic relations,
including reopening embassies in
Washington and Havana. While the United
States maintains a trade embargo against
Cuba, Obama has eased economic links
between the two countries, five decades
after Cuba's former president, Fidel
Castro, nationalized U.S. businesses on
Now, some American
businesses are opening operations in
Cuba, and U.S. cruise ships have begun
making ports of call to the island