Non-Stop flights from Tampa to Havana coming this fall
WASHINGTON – Tampa along with Orlando, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale are all Florida cities cleared for nonstop flights to Havana that could start as soon as this fall. Other U.S. cities that were also given the green light for flights to Cuba are New York, Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, Charlotte and Newark. The move to allow the non-stop flights to Havana are tentative and still subject to objections, but the DOT expects to finalize the approval later this summer.
Earlier this year, the Department of Transportation gave the go-ahead to resume passenger flights from the U.S. to Cuba. This week, they proposed to award eight airlines service to Havana: American, Delta, United, Southwest, Spirit, Alaska, Frontier, and JetBlue.
The airlines have proposed varying startup dates for their services, but most are planned for fall and winter 2016/2017. DOT’s decision contains requirements that, if made final, will require that the carriers begin their services within 90 days of the issue date of a final order.
The U.S. government on Thursday July 7 tentatively approved scheduled commercial airline service to Havana from 10 American cities, further bridging the gulf between countries as close as an hour flight but long kept at a greater distance by the Cold War, the Associated Press reported.
The decision is another long stride in President Barack Obama’s effort to normalize U.S.-Cuba relations.
“Reopening travel relations with Cuba is about more than just restoring the freedom to travel there for all Americans —it’s about opening Cuba to new ideas, new values and improved human rights that our 50-year-old policy of isolation could not achieve,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.
The DOT was quick to highlight the political implications of new U.S.-Havana flights. “Today we take another important step toward delivering on President Obama’s promise to reengage Cuba,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Restoring regular air service holds tremendous potential to reunite Cuban American families and foster education and opportunities for American businesses of all sizes.”
While this is a major step, traveling to Cuba is still not as simple as traveling to other parts of the Caribbean. Americans will still have to prove that they fall into one of the ’12 categories of purposeful travel,’ which include family visits and humanitarian missions—but that’s not likely to stop them. Fares are likely to sell out quickly once they are released, so stay tuned.
Video used in the story is from CBS 4 Miami