By: Paolo David
Civil Aviation Agreement
In a report by the Miami Herald, the civil aviation agreement will allow regular and scheduled airline services between the U.S. and Cuba for the first time since the 1959 revolution. Many U.S. airlines are ready to submit their applications, but slots will be limited as the agreement only allows a maximum of 20 flights to Havana daily and 10 each for the nine other airports around the island nation.
"The restoration of the first U.S. commercial flights to Cuban in more than 50 years are important steps forwards in our policy of engagement and show what can be accomplished when there is meaningful, constructive dialogue between our two countries instead of the decades of isolationist policies that preceded it," said James Williams of Engage Cuba.
Plane Ticket Prices are Going Down
VOX Media also notes that traveling to Cuba is still very expensive, considering the ticket prices in New York and Miami going to Havana cost $850 and $450, respectively. "We're in a Cuba travel bubble right now, where prices are very high, and there are limited flights available," said Alana Tummino of the Cuba Working Group at the Americas Society and Council of the Americas.
"With the opening of commercial flights, it means you're going to have a huge increase in daily flights to Cuba, which can only mean prices will become competitive and be driven down," she added.
Airlines such as American, Delta, Jet Blue, Southwest and United are all planning to submit applications to the Department of Transportation during the 15-day window after the signing of the civil aviation agreement.
These airlines are also required to cooperate with Cuban aviation officials before having official commercial flights. Commercial airlines also offer different services compared to charter companies like online ticket sales and a 24-hour customer service line.
Expect Commercial Flights to Cuba as Early as Fall 2016
According to the Los Angeles Times, those airlines that will be given approval can put tickets on sale as early as October. However, the outlet says that Americans still need to have a Cuban visa when traveling to the Caribbean island.
In a report by Insight Cuba, there are only 12 approved categories for Americans to be allowed to travel to Cuba including athletic competitions, educational, journalistic and religious activities, family ties, humanitarian projects, official government business and private research.