DHS Allows More Airports Flights to Cuba, Prices Likely to Drop
The Department of Homeland security announced Friday it will allow more airports to offer flights to and from Cuba.
In the past, only 22 airports approved by U. S. Customs and Border Protection could accept flights traveling to or from Cuba. Under the new travel regulations, flights to and from Cuba are subject to the same legal requirements as other international flights under Title 19 of the Federal Register.
This change comes during President Barack Obama’s historic three-day trip to Cuba with his family. Prior to their trip, the U.S. eased other restrictions placed on Cuba.
The U.S. Department of Treasury and Department of Commerce announced the amended restrictions would permit individuals to visit Cuba for "people-to-people educational travel," which will allow Americans to make educational visits to Cuba in tour groups and as individuals, yet the U.S. embargo against Cuba continues to place a tourism ban, according to United Press International.
While travel to the U.S. from Cuba is easier, passengers arriving from Cuba must still complete their immigration and customs inspections prior to being admitted into the United States.
As Obama put a greater emphasis on normalizing relations with Cuba over the last year, online travel agencies reported a 500 percent increase in searches for flights to Cuba, according to travel site Hopper.com.
Hopper also completed a study where they found prices for flights to Cuba from the U.S. could fall by almost 50 percent if all travel sanctions are lifted.
Round-trip flights to Cuba currently run $717, yet that could fall to $364 if airlines offered regular service to the island nation.
United, Southwest, American, JetBlue and other carriers submitted applications to the U.S. Department of Transportation requesting a share of the 20 daily round-trip flights to Havana, and 10 flights to nine smaller airports across Cuba. The agency said it plans to award the routes this summer.
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