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American Airlines Seeks Permission to Resume Flights to 5 Cuban Cities

Has asked to start flying to Santa Clara, Holguin, Santiago, Varadero and Camagüey beginning in November.

By Kyle Arnold, The Dallas Morning News (via TNS).

American Airlines wants to resume flying to five cities in Cuba after the Biden administration reversed a Trump-era policy limiting flying to the country.

Fort Worth-based American already flies to Havana six times daily and has now asked the U.S. Department of Transportation for approval to start flying to Santa Clara, Holguin, Santiago, Varadero and Camagüey beginning in November.

Those locations would be served from American’s regional hub in Miami, also home to the United States’ largest Cuban American community.

“These additional frequencies will enhance service and access between the United States and other cities outside of Havana, as well as offer the best connectivity to Cuba via American’s Miami hub,” American Airlines spokeswoman Gianna Urgo said in a statement.

The Biden administration opened flying possibilities to Cuba in May as part of a broader plan to expand some relations with Cuba. Relations and trade with Cuba have been the subject of tense political debate between Democrats and Republicans over how to support contact between Cubans living in the United States while isolating the country’s communist regime.

American Airlines flew to the five Cuban cities between September 2016 and December 2019, but the Trump administration suspended some relations with Cuba that had been expanded under former President Barack Obama. After that, airlines could only fly to the capital city of Havana.

The Biden administration has since expanded airports that could be flown to in the U.S. to “strengthen family ties and facilitate educational connections for the U.S. and Cuban people.”

The State Department is also once again letting Americans travel to Cuba for educational, professional and research reasons, along with expanding remittances and other economic ties.

American plans to fly once a day to Holguin, Santiago, Varadero and Camagüey from Miami and twice a day to Santa Clara. American plans to use a 178-seat Boeing 737 jet on all but flights to Santiago and Camagüey, for which it will use a 128-seat Airbus A319.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines also flies to Cuba from Fort Lauderdale and Tampa, and JetBlue flies to Havana.

American has been pushing for more flights to Cuba for over two years, asking in 2020 to take slots that JetBlue gave up.


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