Americans will now have more opportunities to fly to Cuba.
On Friday, the U.S. Department of Transportation approved six domestic airlines to begin flights to Cuba from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis/St. Paul. This is the first time there have been scheduled flights between the U.S. and Cuba in more than 50 years. Charter flights between the two countries, though, have been allowed for several years, making around 100 crossings per week.
The airlines—American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Silver Airways, Southwest Airlines, and Sun Country Airlines—were approved to fly to nine cities in Cuba. Havana, though, is not on that list. As USA Today reports:
But the department is still considering which airlines will get a combined 20 daily flights to the capital out of 60 proposals, which will be announced later this summer.
The nine destinations in Cuba are Camagüey, Cayo Coco, Cayo Largo, Cienfuegos, Holguín, Manzanillo, Matanzas, Santa Clara, and Santiago de Cuba. Each city could have received up to 10 U.S. flights per day.
In February, Cuba and the U.S. signed an agreement to re-establish scheduled flights between the two countries, allowing for 110 daily round-trip flights. This is yet another step in the growing diplomatic relations that began December 2014, and was most notably highlighted by President Obama’s trip to the Communist Party-run island nation in March.