Commercial Flights Between Miami and Cuba (but Not Havana) Will Begin Within 90 Days

American Airlines will use its A319 planes for flights between Miami and Cuba.
American Airlines will use its A319 planes for flights between Miami and Cuba.
Image by BryYZZ via Flickr, CC2.0

American Airlines won approval from the Department of Transportation to begin regular daily commercial flights between Miami and Cuba within the next 90 days. The airline announced it will run eight daily flights between Miami International Airport and five Cuban cities. However, approval for direct daily flights between anywhere in the U.S. and Havana has been delayed. 

Here are the details on the flights: 

Commercial Flights Between Miami and Cuba (but Not Havana) Will Begin Within 90 Days

The DOT put out a call for bids on commercial airline service between the U.S. and nine international airports in Cuba back in February. Perhaps predictably, most airlines were far more interested in securing flights to Havana than anywhere else in the country. The agreement between Cuba and America caps flights at ten a day at each Cuban airport, with the exception of Havana, where 20 flights will be available. 

In fact, the DOT approved all of the non-Havana proposals it received and still has more to give out if any airlines were interested. For Havana, however, the DOT received three times the number of applications than flights available. 

"U.S. carriers have collectively applied for nearly 60 flights per day to Havana, exceeding the 20
daily flights made available by the U.S.-Cuba arrangement," a DOT release reads. "DOT is reviewing and analyzing the competing applications and will need to select from among them." 

No other airline will handle flights to Cuba out of MIA, and American Airlines did not secure any other flights from other U.S. airports. 

Interestingly, three airlines will handle flights out of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International. The Broward airport will not only feature more competition between airlines but also offer more flights to more locations within Cuba. Though, the total number of passengers will be lower, because Silver Airways will operate only 34-seat planes for its routes. 

Commercial Flights Between Miami and Cuba (but Not Havana) Will Begin Within 90 Days

Southwest Airlines will begin flights within 90 days, JetBlue aims to begin operations September 8, and the Silver flights will be rolled out gradually beginning in September, with most not taking off until November or December. 

Chicago, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis are the only other airports that will operate non-Havana flights to Cuba. A flight between Chicago O’Hare and Santiago de Cuba was the only other daily flight announced today that wasn't based in South Florida. The other flights will run just a few times weekly. 

Currently, Americans traveling to Cuba must do so with a visa issued under one of 12 categories. American tourism without any other reason is not yet legal in Cuba.


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