Cuba and US agree to allow commercial flights between the two countries

Cuba and the United States reached the agreement on Tuesday, now airlines are working to get the flights.

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The Independent US

The United States and Cuba reached a historic agreement on Tuesday to allow commercial flights between the two countries for the first time in more than 50 years.

This move comes as the two countries continue to normalize relations and now many US airlines are working to secure the flights. The agreement would allow as many as 110 flights per day between Havana, or one of Cuba's nine other international airports, and the US, according to reports of the agreement.

Anthony Foxx, US secretary of transportation, called the agreement "a critically important milestone," and Cuban Transportation Minister Adel Rodriguez said it signaled a "new era," the BBC reported.

Nearly all major US airlines said they would apply to land commercial flights to Cuba. American Airlines, United, Delta, Southwest, JetBlue, Spirit were all mentioned in a USA Today report as being interested in offering flights.

The deal gives US airlines 15 days to request the routes to Cuba, after which the companies would have to work with Cuban aviation officials to actually be awarded the flights. This process is expected to be completed this year.

The US imposed a trade embargo on Cuba in 1960 and relations have been nearly non-existent since then. US President Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart, Raul Castro, began working to normalize relations in late 2014.

Despite there being no commercial flights between the US and Cuba for half a century, there are a number of charter flights between the two countries daily. Passengers still are required to give their reason for traveling to Cuba and tourism is not one of the accepted reasons. These restrictions figure to ease once commercial flights resume.

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