According to the Department of Transportation, the Biden administration will increase the number of U.S. flights to Havana by establishing 13 weekly American Airlines (AAL.O) departures from Miami and one weekly JetBlue (JBLU.O) departure from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
This is in addition to the six daily American Airlines flights and three JetBlue flights to Havana from airports in Florida.
According to USDOT, the flights must begin by mid-December. In June, the Department of Transportation had eased a number of restrictions on flights to Cuba, including prohibiting U.S. airlines from flying to smaller Cuban airports outside Havana.
American Airlines said the flights “will enhance service and access between the U.S. and these non-Havana points after more than two years during which such service was suspended,” according to Reuters. American Airlines had received permission earlier this year to resume flights to some smaller airports in Cuba.
The additional flights come after the Biden administration approved commercial and charter flights to destinations other than Havana and allowed Americans to sign up for group tours to Cuba. The administration’s “policy will continue to focus on empowering the Cuban people to help them create a future free from repression and economic suffering.”
Individual educational travel between individuals was not reinstated by the government. In an effort to restore diplomatic relations with the country, the Obama administration first authorized people-to-people group tours in 2015.
Permits were then expanded to allow individual person-to-person travel as well as travel to the country aboard cruise ships. In 2017, however, the Trump administration stepped up its efforts to restrict tourism to the country, first by banning cruise ships and then all flights to Cuba outside of Havana.
The Biden administration also planned to improve consular services and visa processing, revive Cuba’s family reunification program, and introduce new flight regulations.