February 15, 2016 4:06 pm
Information taken from 
El Nuevo Herald

Cuba and the United States will sign this Tuesday in Havana an agreement on civil aviation that will connect the two countries with direct flights for the first time in more than fifty years, routes that are expected to begin operating next fall.

The US Secretary of Transportation, Anthony R. Foxx, will travel to Cuba to sign this memorandum of understanding, which will be signed by the Cuban side, the Minister of Transportation, Adel Yzquierdo, in a ceremony that will take place at the Hotel Nacional in the Cuban capital. .

Also attending the signing of the agreement will be the Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs of the Department of State, Charles H. Rivkin; and president of the Institute of Civil Aeronautics of Cuba, Alfredo Cordero.

From the signing of the document, a period of fifteen days opens for US airlines to submit their applications to the Department of Transportation for the routes they would like to operate.

On December 17, the anniversary of the announcement of the reestablishment of relations between Cuba and the United States, the parties announced that they had reached an understanding on civil aviation, an agreement that will finally be sealed tomorrow.

According to advances, the agreement represents a potential of 110 round trip connections, with twenty daily flights to Havana and ten daily flights to other airports on the island.

The bidding process is opened exclusively for US airlines, since the state-owned Cubana de Aviación is excluded due to litigation in the US that could lead to their goods being seized if they enter US territory, as explained last Friday by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Transportation Affairs, Thomas Engle.

The US official explained that the Department of Transportation will begin to allocate routes as soon as possible, no later than summer, so that the first tickets could begin to be sold in the fall.

The start of regular flights between Cuba and the US will facilitate travel for Americans who fall within the twelve categories in which visits to the island are allowed, where they still cannot enter as tourists.

Since the announcement of the reestablishment of relations between the two countries, President Barack Obama has relaxed restrictions on the trade of some goods and on travel, but the embargo and the prohibition of tourism to the island are still in force, which can only be lifted with the authorization congressional.

After more than a year of negotiations to restore their links, the parties have reached agreements on environmental cooperation, for the reestablishment of direct postal mail and the agreement on civil aviation that will be signed tomorrow.

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