By Patty Vila, SouthFloridaReporter.com, Cuba Expert, Oct. 2, 2015 – This past week Cuba and the U.S. made an advancement toward restoring scheduled airline service. The talks were held in Havana. Sources tell me that a potential deal can be reached by the end of the year.
Cuba and the U.S. plan to meet again, possibly before the end of this year. The next meeting will probably be held in Washington.
Since both countries established a diplomatic relations this past December, one of the priorities have been to restore commercial airline service which had been suspended for decades as a result of Cold War animosity.
The way I would fly to Cuba was mainly on the Charter flights, Air Jamaica or through the Bahamas. Despite the Embargo, in the last 50 years Cuba and the U.S. always had a way of being connected. This past January, Washington initiated new rules that more easily permit U.S. airlines to fly to Cuba.
What needs to be done next is for the U.S. and Cuban officials to negotiate a new arrangement before restarting scheduled service in which customers could book travel directly with airlines. After that deal is reached, the two sides have agreed to work on updating a 1953 civil aviation agreement.
General U.S. tourism to Cuba is banned by the U.S. trade embargo but certain Americans are allowed to go on specially sanctioned travel. The boom in Americans traveling to Cuba since President Obama relaxed restrictions is up by 60% as of this year.