US airlines vie for Cuba flights; Havana top destination
NEW YORK - U.S. airlines are telling the Transportation Department what routes they would like to fly to Cuba. Government approval is expected to take months.
At least seven carriers submitted applications to the DOT Wednesday. Most are looking to serve Cuba primarily from their large hub cities, with Havana being the most popular destination.
The government will spend the next few months reviewing the requests and is expected to award the contested Havana routes this summer. Flights to smaller cities could be approved much sooner.
Once routes are awarded, airlines will still need time to develop schedules and actually sell seats on the flights. And while the U.S. government will set the routes, airlines will also need to apply to Cuba's civil aviation authority for a permit to operate in the country.