Updated 03:49 PM EST, Sun, Jan 23, 2022

US-Cuba Reach Agreement on Commercial Flight Deal after 50 Years

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The United States and Cuba has finally come to an agreement to restore commercial flights between the two countries. This deal, according to BBC, may just be the one that could jumpstart economic relations between them.

The deal was announced on Thursday, a year after Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro announced the pact that now allows US airlines to negotiate with the Cuban government commercial flight routes and schedules, which could mean over a dozen flights arriving into the Latin American country from the US daily.

It could even be more. The US State Department's deputy assistant secretary for transportation affairs, Thomas Engle, said that there could be up to 110 round-trip flights a day. USA Today noted that the schedule will include 20 flights a day between the US and Havana, and 10 a day between the US and nine other international airports spread across the island.

News of the agreement came as travel between US and Cuba has surged significantly this year, with thousands of Americans eager to visit the island, where hotels and hostels are booked solid for months at a time.

However, those who did wish to spend some time in Cuba had difficulty in booking charter flights, or had to do so via other countries, having to navigate through laws for their travels to be legal.

Unfortunately for those who want to spend their holidays on the island, the State Department reminded US citizens that the ban on tourist travel to Cuba is still in place. As USA Today noted, those who wish to travel to the Latin American country must present visas, identification, payment information to agents, and most importantly, travelers must certify that their trip falls under one of the approved categories for entering the country.

CNN reported, however, that despite the agreement on restoring commercial flights, there has been no word on when the said flights will actually resume, as the Federal Aviation Administration still has to ensure that safety regulations are in place.

The airline industry, on the other hand, already has high hopes for the flights to go on, with American Airlines planning on submitting a US-Cuba service proposal to the US Department of Transportation soon.

JetBlue senior vice president of airline planning Scott Laurence said in a statement, "Interest in Cuba has reached levels not seen for a generation. We will review the terms of the agreement to understand how JetBlue can expand from charter service to regularly scheduled service. Our years of experience in Cuba and unmatched customer experience positions JetBlue as the carrier of choice for travel to Cuba."

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