Last week, U.S. and Cuban transportation officials signed an arrangement that re-establishes commercial air services between the United States and Cuba for the first time in over 50 years. The new arrangement allows U.S. carriers to operate up to a total of 110 daily roundtrip flights between the U.S. and Cuba. This includes up to 20 daily roundtrip flights between the U.S. and Havana and up to 10 daily roundtrip flights between the U.S. and each of Cuba’s nine other international airports. This agreement is another step in plan to restore diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba that the Obama Administration announced in 2014.
The air service arrangement facilitates visits for travelers that fall under one of 12 categories: family visits; official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations; journalistic activity; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; support for the Cuban people; humanitarian projects; activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes; exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials; and certain authorized export transactions.
U.S. airlines have until March 2, 2016 to submit applications outlining their planned routes to Cuba. After that, the Department of Transportation will choose which U.S. carriers will be able to offer scheduled flights to Cuba. The DOT will select the proposals that offer and maintain the best service to the traveling and shipping public.
For more information on this announcement, please visit the Department of Transportation’s press release on the matter.
Rachel is an intern with the firm and is not a practicing attorney.