Our reconciliation with Cuba is happening fast.
Only a few days after Friday's raising of the American flag over the newly reopened U.S. embassy in Havana, American Airlines has announced that it is instituting the only nonstop flights from the West Coast to Cuba since travel restrictions were eased in mid-January.
In December, President Obama ordered the restoration of full diplomatic relations with the socialist regime of President Raúl Castro. Cuba had been for more than half a century closed out of most trade and travel with the United States over human rights concerns.
Today American Airlines said it will launch the West Coast's first charter flights to Jose Marti International Airport in Havana starting Dec. 12.
Tickets for the weekly Saturday flights on Boeing 737s will be sold by Cuba Travel Services, the airline said in a statement. Miami also will get new and direct American Airlines flights to Havana, it said.
The airline has been flying to Cuba since 1991, but with the eased restrictions opening up routes like LAX-HAV, its operations to the island will expand to 1,200 charter flights this year, it said.
The new LAX route will be "providing travelers the only nonstop service connecting the West Coast to Cuba since travel restrictions were eased," the airline stated. (Tourist travel to Cuba is still restricted. Get the the latest information here).*
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"American is the premier carrier in Los Angeles and throughout the Caribbean, and this new charter flight shows how we continue to expand our reach by offering new routes and services our customers want," said Art Torno, American's senior vice president for international and cargo. "We stand ready to offer scheduled service as soon as the United States and Cuba allow commercial flights."
*Added at 3:58 p.m.