Cuba and U.S in talks over regular scheduled flights

Posted: 22-Sep-15 14:06

Regularly scheduled flights could start between Cuba and the United States as early as next year, according to The Associated Press. Officials from both countries met in Havana last week to discuss the first steps towards regular airline flights and a civil aviation agreement could be put in place by the end of 2015.

Cuba and U.S in talks over regular scheduled flights

The Associated Press (AP) has reported that regular scheduled flights between the United States and Cuba could be planned for 2016.

An unnamed U.S official is "familiar with the diplomacy" between Cuba and the U.S, and officials from both nations met in Havana last week to lay down plans to normalise relations.

According to the AP, the officials "wasn't authorised to publicly lay out the process and demanded anonymity", but restoring regular routes between the two countries was among the topics at the recent meeting.

If a civil aviation agreement has been put in place by the end of December, 2015, scheduled airline flights could start as early as 2016.

U.S. airlines are still prohibited from selling tickets for Cuba flights, but they are permitted to operate the aircraft for charter companies that have been authorised by the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to sell travel to Cuba for travellers meet one of the 12 approved categories set by the Obama administration.

The airlines are now keen to start providing direct travel options for travellers between the two countries, should the government allow it. Commenting on this topic Howard Kass, American Airline's vice president of regulatory affairs, explained recently:

"American's position is: We want to see the introduction of scheduled service, if that's, in fact, what the two governments want to do. The other restrictions, we think, will all fall away as ties normalise."

Travel restrictions have been eased for Americans but general tourism to Cuba is still prohibited for U.S residents. Despite this, U.S. citizens can still visit the Caribbean island through people to people programmes and tours within 12 categories, such as education, culture, and religion that have been organised by licensed U.S tour operators.

Embassies opened in Washington and Havana in July, 2015, following more than five decades of hostilities between the two countries.


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