American Airlines boosts profile in Cuba

Friday, October 19, 2018

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HAVANA, Cuba (AFP) — American Airlines announced Monday that it would offer more daily flights to Cuba by 2019, despite US restrictions on Americans travelling to that country.

“We have recently started a fifth daily flight between Havana and Miami, and next year (in May) we will inaugurate a new daily flight between Miami and Santiago de Cuba, our sixth destination in the country,” Ramon Jimenez, AA's manager in Cuba, said in a statement.

The airline currently has 10 flights a day to the island, half of which are between Miami and Havana. The rest go to provincial cities such as Camaguey, Holguin, Santa Clara, and Varadero.

The number of daily flights will rise to 11, AA said.

American Airlines has also signed an agreement with Cuban State-owned Havanatur, which will sell airline tickets in its 80 branches across the country.

US airline flights were reinstated in August 2016 amid the diplomatic rapprochement between the two former Cold War foes, when Barack Obama was president.

At the moment, a full US economic embargo remains on Cuba, the only Communist, one-party State in Latin America.

So far, the United States has allowed Americans to visit Cuba for cultural, educational, sports-related or humanitarian reasons only — not on package tours or as regular tourists.

In 2017, Cuba welcomed 619,523 American tourists, up 217 per cent over 2016, while 453,905 Cubans living in the United States visited their native country, an increase of 138 per cent over a year.

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