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American Airlines has stepped up plans to operate flights to Cuba following the recent relaxation of travel restrictions announced by US president Barack Obama late last year.
The airline has submitted an application to the US Department of Transportation proposing to operate scheduled services between the US and Cuba, with flights to Havana from Miami, Charlotte, Dallas Forth Worth, Los Angeles and Chicago.
The announcement comes shortly after United Airlines confirmed it planned to serve Cuba from Newark and Houston.
“American is the undisputed leader in serving the people and businesses of Miami-Dade County, which is the heart and soul of the Cuban-American community and home to nearly 50 percent of the Cuban-American population in the United States,” said American’s Chairman and CEO Doug Parker.
“American’s proposed service – from Miami and four other hubs – will provide a strong foundation for the sustained future growth of commercial and cultural ties between the U.S. and Cuba.
“We commend President Obama, Secretary Foxx, Secretary Kerry, and the Departments of Transportation and State for their leadership in achieving the historic resumption of scheduled air service with Cuba,” Parker added.
In January certain barriers to travel and trade were lifted, including raising the limit on remittances from Cubans living abroad to up to $10,000 and allowing Internet and mobile phone companies to export equipment.
General travel is restricted to 12 designated categories, including: professional meetings, educational activities, family commitments and athletic competitions but travellers that fall into one of the categories will no longer need a special licence to travel.