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Hello America! Cuba is bracing for a mass influx of US Flights this Fall 2016, the first time U.S. is authorizing scheduled commercial services in more than five decades. The U.S. Department of Transportation has approved six airlines to schedule trips to 9 Cuban cities (not including Havana). The lucky airlines who won the rights are American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Silver Airways, Southwest Airlines, and Sun Country Airlines.

In theory, passengers can take off from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis/St. Paul. The Cuban destinations are Camagüey, Cayo Coco, Cayo Largo, Cienfuegos, Holguín, Manzanillo, Matanzas, Santa Clara, and Santiago de Cuba. This means that as early as this Fall, 90 roundtrips flights between the U.S. and nine Cuban international airports could be available every day. There is one hold-up: Exact flight schedules may depend on the availability of airport slots, AND the airlines have to be approved by the Cuban government. If and when approved by the Cuban state, most of the carriers plan to begin services later this fall, and will start selling tickets much earlier.

Now, what about the main city of Havana? The department is also allowing 20 daily roundtrip flights to Havana, HOWEVER, later this summer, officials will announce which carriers will make those trips and when they will begin. American airlines has already said it intends to start its first flights to the island nation on September 7, when it will launch nonstop service from Miami to both Cienfuegos and Holguín. Carriers won’t be able to advertise fares until they’re ready to put them on sale, which could happen within the next three to four weeks.

Photo: Michael Kelley