Cuba and the US hours away from formalising deal for 20 daily flights between both countries

Posted: 15-Feb-16 12:43

As of tomorrow Cuba could be formally (and legally) welcoming up to 30 potential scheduled flights per day from the US. The date has been set for Tuesday 16th February and both countries are due to host a formal meeting in which aviation authorities are expected to sign an agreement that will allow for commercial flights between the two neighbouring nations for the first time in over half a century.

Cuba and the US hours away from formalising deal for 20 daily flights between both countries

The fateful date in which commercial flights to Cuba from the US are formally given the legal go-ahead from both sides is soon approaching and tomorrow all details will be finalised and revealed as the new scheduled flights between the two countries are unveiled and confirmed.

While the green light is expected to be given for up to 20 daily flights to Havana from various points in the US, a further 10 daily flights for 9 other cities in the Cuban archipelago could also be agreed upon, which means a potential total of 30 flights per day between the two countries.

One of the most talked-about topics in the recent thawing of relations between the U.S. and Cuba, a lot of expectation has been building up on the subject of resumed scheduled flights between the former neighbouring foes. The final agreement will be signed in Havana tomorrow.

“...a very positive development.”

As described by Thomas Engle, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Transportation Affairs.

Possibly one of the biggest steps in the easing of the embargo-imposed trade and travel restrictions recently relaxed by Barack Obama’s administration, the resuming of commercial flights between Cuba and the US has been gathering momentum since its announcement.

Stepping up to the new opportunities, American Airlines wants to lead the way and start flying to Cuba as soon as possible, with a tentative launching date planned for sometime in the first half of 2016. Similarly, according to Bloomberg News, other big US airlines like Southwest and United are planning to launch direct flights to Havana later this year.

The fears now are more about the island’s limited tourism infrastructure being able to cope with the surge in American visitors once scheduled flights start operating. With the flood of US visitors already testing the island’s restricted capacity to accommodate tourists (authorised visits to Cuba from US travellers rose by 50 per cent in 2015) many are concerned this boom could prove beyond overwhelming for Cuba’s hotel rooms, which are already booked to full capacity for months in advance as are the most popular guesthouses or B&B, locally known as casas particulares.

And with a steady rise in famous visitors making their way to the island, from the popular TV series of Top Gear recently having recorded a special episode in the streets of Havana (according to tweets from the show’s trio of hosts) to Universal planning to shoot scenes in Havana for the next production of the popular Fast & Furious saga and Chanel having already sent out invitations for the presentation of its exclusive cruise collection in Havana this May, no one can get enough of Cuba it seems.

Now, with the many added possibilities that as many as 30 daily flights to the island from the US will bring, the window opens even wider for much more (and many more) to come. Watch this space!


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