U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced Friday that the Department of Transportation has approved six domestic airlines to begin scheduled flights between the United States and Cuba as early as this fall, a press release from the White House notes.
The approved carriers are American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Silver Airways, Southwest Airlines and Sun Country Airlines, which will schedule fights between the Caribbean island and Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., as well as Chicago, Philadelphia and Minneapolis-St. Paul.
“Last year President Obama announced that it was time to ‘begin a new journey’ with the Cuban people,” Foxx said in the statement. “Today we are delivering on his promise by relaunching scheduled air service to Cuba after more than half a century.”
Nine Cuban cities will receive the new scheduled service: Camagüey, Cayo Coco, Cayo Largo, Cienfuegos, Holguín, Manzanillo, Matanzas, Santa Clara and Santiago de Cuba.
However, don't grab the sunscreen or swimsuits just yet. Tourists are still not able to fly to Cuba, but the routes will be available for family visits, official U.S. government business, foreign-government business, journalistic activity, professional research, educational and religious activities, and other authorized travel, The Hill notes.
"It makes no sense that Americans will soon be able to go online and book a flight to Cuba, but U.S. policy will still prohibit tourist travel to our island neighbor," James Williams, president of Engage Cuba, told The Hill. "Today's announcement further proves that the travel ban is an outdated relic of the Cold War era. It's time for Congress to act and end the travel ban."