DOT launches process to award new flights between U.S. and Cuba
HAVANA - The U.S. Department of Transportation signed an arrangement Tuesday morning that provides for the re-establishment of scheduled air services between the United States and Cuba.
Following the signing, the DOT invited U.S. air carriers to apply for an allocation to provide scheduled passenger and cargo flights between the nations which have recently started the process of reconnecting commerce and travel.
“We are excited to announce the availability of new scheduled air service opportunities to Cuba for U.S. carriers, shippers, and the traveling public, and we will conduct this proceeding in a manner designed to maximize public benefits,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
The re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba traces back to 2014 when the Obama administration announced its intention to begin the process of normalization with Cuba. Less than a year later, the governments of the U.S. and Cuba concluded long negotiations on a non-legally binding arrangement to re-establish scheduled air services between the countries.
The new arrangement facilitates visits for travelers that fall under one of 12 authorized categories by the Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control.
There haven’t been scheduled flights between Cuba and the U.S. for over half a century.
Applications are due March 2, 2016; answers to applications are due March 14, 2016; and replies to those answers are due March 21, 2016. There's no word yet if there will be any direct flights to Cuba out of Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans.