Airline Deal Inked With Cuba

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Regular airline service between the U.S. and Cuba will resume but don't pack the sunscreen yet. While the Department of Transportation has formally signed an agreement reached two months ago allowing up to 110 daily roundtrip airline flights between the U.S. and the island country, there are still significant restrictions on who can buy those flights. "While general tourist travel to Cuba is still not allowed, this new arrangement will facilitate visits for travelers who fall under one of the 12 categories authorized by the U.S. Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control," the DOT's release said. The 12 categories cover business, education and humanitarian visits. There's also no mention of general aviation in the announcement.

It will be at least four months before airlines will be able to capitalize on this limited market. U.S. carriers will have to apply to DOT for allocation of passenger and cargo flights. There will be up to 20 flights daily to Havana available and 10 to each of the other nine international airports. "DOT recognizes the eagerness of U.S. carriers to take advantage of these new Cuba opportunities, and expects to reach a final decision sometime this summer on which carriers will be awarded the authority to conduct scheduled air service to Cuba and which markets they will serve," the release said.