By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON, Sept 19 (Reuters) – The United States government will expand flights from the country to Havana, adding 13 American Airlines trips per week from Miami and a weekly JetBlue itinerary departing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, it said on Monday. the Department of Transportation.
The most recent authorization will be added to the six daily flights that American Airlines already makes and the three JetBlue trips per week to Havana from the two Florida airports.
The Transportation Department said the new flights could start in mid-December. In June, the agency lifted a series of restrictions on flights to Cuba and ended a ban on travel by US airlines to smaller Cuban airports outside Havana.
On that occasion, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the measure was taken “in support of the Cuban people and in the interests of United States foreign policy.”
The previous administration of President Donald Trump banned passenger airline flights to smaller airports in Cuba.
In July, American Airlines received permission to resume service to some smaller airports. The airline requested authorization to operate flights from Miami to Santa Clara, Holguín, Matanzas/Varadero and Santiago de Cuba.
The airline said earlier this year that the flights “will improve service and access between the United States and these points outside of Havana, after more than two years during which such operations were suspended.”
During the Trump administration, the United States capped charter flights to Cuba at 3,600 per year and later suspended charter travel to the country. He also vetoed charter flights to any Cuban airport except Havana.
(Reporting by David Shepardson. Editing in Spanish by Marion Giraldo)