Today, U.S. and Cuban officials signed an aviation pact that restores scheduled airline flights between the two countries for the first time in more than 50 years.
Currently, the only way to fly to Cuba from the United States is to take an indirect route through another country (typically Mexico or the Cayman Islands), or by taking a charter flight from the U.S.
CheapAir.com is proud to be the only online travel agency that sells charter flights to Cuba, and we’ve tried to make the booking process as easy as purchasing any other flight. At the same time, there are inherent challenges, especially if you’re not departing from the limited number of cities where the charter originates and you need a connecting flight. Today’s news should go a long way to making the process much easier.
The new arrangement was tacitly agreed to in December 2015, but this signing makes the arrangement official. U.S. airlines now have 15 days to submit their official route applications to the U.S. Transportation Department. Then the department will decide on which airlines will be permitted to fly which routes to Havana. This will impact which cities in the U.S. will have access. A spokesperson for the Transportation Department estimates that decisions will be made sometime this summer.
A total of 20 round-trip flights per day will be allowed between U.S. cities and Havana, and 10 daily round-trip flights to 9 other international airports in Cuba. It is expected the new scheduled flights will begin sometime this fall.
The new service will not, by itself, change the fact that it is still not legal to travel to Cuba unless you are traveling for one of 12 approved reasons. A congressional action would still be required to remove these restrictions and that is not likely to be considered until after the Fall elections.