Last updated: 08:18 PM ET, Sun June 12 2016

DOT Approves Commercial Air Service to Cuba for Six US Airlines

Destination & Tourism | Donald Wood | June 10, 2016

DOT Approves Commercial Air Service to Cuba for Six US Airlines

Photo by David Cogswell

On Friday, six airlines in the United States were approved to resume scheduled commercial air service to Cuba, marking the first time permission was granted in over 50 years.

According to The Associated Press, the airlines approved by the Department of Transportation for a total of 155 roundtrip flights per week include American, Frontier, JetBlue, Silver Airways, Southwest and Sun Country.

The approved airlines will fly from five U.S. cities to nine destinations in Cuba, other than Havana. Companies approved by the Department of Transportation must begin service within 90 days of their proposal dates, but extensions can be requested.

Most service is expected to begin in fall and early winter, but approval is still required by the Cuban government. The approved airlines say they will begin selling tickets in the next few weeks while awaiting clearance from Cuba.

READ MORE: Can Cuba Keep Up With US Tourism?

As for Havana, the Department of Transportation will make a decision about routes to the Cuban capital later this summer. The routes approved Friday were not contested due to the lack of additional interest in destinations other than Havana.

The cities in the U.S. approved for service to Cuba include Miami, Chicago, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and the destinations in Cuba approved include Camaguey, Cayo Coco, Cayo Largo, Cienfuegos, Holguin, Manzanillo, Matanzas, Santa Clara and Santiago de Cuba.

In terms of security, the Transportation Security Administration is currently completing a security review of Cuban airports which will have direct flights to the U.S. and any airports that could begin service eventually.

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