JetBlue Completes First Commercial Flight from US to Cuba in 50-Plus Years
Photo courtesy of JetBlue.
JetBlue Flight 387 made history Wednesday when it became the first commercial flight between the U.S. and Cuba in nearly six decades.
The Associated Press reported the brief 45-minute flight departed Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Wednesday morning, landing in the central Cuban city of Santa Clara before 11 a.m. local time.
The historic flight featured five specially selected Cuban-American crew members.
Other notable passengers aboard the 150-seat Airbus A320 included U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes.
According to Secretary of State John Kerry, it's been 55 years since a commercial flight from the U.S. landed on the Caribbean island.
8/31/2016:The 1st US commercial flight to #Cuba since 1961, just over a year after raising the flag at US Embassy Havana. Another step fwd.— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) August 31, 2016
Earlier this week, Cuba's vice minister of transportation Eduardo Rodriguez called the new era of air travel between the U.S. and Cuba "a positive step and a concrete contribution to the process of improving relations between the two countries," via the AP.
Looking ahead, it's expected that the influx of commercial flights to Cuba will overtake the charter flights that typically operate routes between the two nations.
After all, Americans will only have to wait a few more weeks before they can fly direct to Cuba from a handful of major U.S. cities including Chicago, Philadelphia and Minneapolis, so long as they meet any one of the dozen categories needed for approval to travel.
Wednesday's flight comes just over one month since JetBlue announced it would offer one-way flights to Cuba starting at $99. By mid-November the New York-based low-cost carrier will offer daily flights from the U.S. to as many as three different Cuban airports.
More by Patrick Clarke
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