American Airlines is Cuba bound. The Fort Worth-based airline is one of six awarded the right to operate flights to Cuba by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT).
There are flights to Cuba now, but they're all chartered. This would be regularly scheduled service. American has been doing charter service to Cuba for 25 years and has a strong presence in Miami-Dade.
It got dibs to Miami, from which it will fly to five cities in Cuba: Camaguey, Cienfuegos, Holguin, Santa Clara, and Varadero. The new flights are expected to begin in September and will represent American’s first-ever scheduled service to Cuba.
Other airlines given the nod include Frontier, JetBlue, Silver Airways, Sun Country, and Southwest, which has applied to fly out of Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, and Orlando. In addition to Miami, DOT approved scheduled flights from Chicago, Philadelphia, Ft. Lauderdale, and Minneapolis/St. Paul.
There are a limited number of flights that can fly into Cuba, and Havana has not yet been resolved; the Transportation Department will decide on who and what later this summer.
Travel is still limited, with travelers requiring approval in one of 12 travel categories such as family visits, humanitarian projects, and religious activities.
American Airlines VP Steve Johnson says that the airline is happy with its allotment of cities but would love some more.
"The resumption of scheduled air service to Cuba is a historic achievement, and we commend Secretary Foxx and his team for making it a reality," he says in a release. "We look forward to giving our customers direct access to Cuba and eagerly await the department's decision on flights to Havana."
American was approved to operate two daily flights between Miami and Holguin, Santa Clara and Varadero, and one daily flight between Miami and Camaguey and Cienfuegos.
But Havana Havana. American also requested 10 daily frequencies from Miami to Havana and additional service to Havana from Charlotte, Dallas-Fort Worth, Chicago, and Los Angeles. American stands ready to begin service to Havana at the earliest possible opportunity. HAVANA.