History was made this week when a US airline operated a commercial flight to Cuba for the first time in more than half a century.
Diplomatic ties between the two countries were severed in 1961, leading to the suspension of flights. But 55 years later, JetBlue’s flight from Fort Lauderdale arrived in Santa Clara, Cuba, just before 11am local time on Wednesday, where it was met by government officials from both nations.
“We are proud to be the first US airline to serve Cuba,” said Robin Hayes, president & CEO of JetBlue. “For the first time in decades, families separated by only a short stretch of water can easily and affordably visit a loved one, attend an important occasion or visit a special place.”
Reflecting how long it’s been since the last commercial flight between the US and Cuba, the arrival of JetBlue’s Airbus A320 marked the first time an American carrier had operated a jet aircraft between the two countries – prior to the embargo, only flew propeller-powered aircraft to the Caribbean island.
Following this week’s launch, JetBlue will also start flying from Fort Lauderdale to two other Cuban destinations – Camaguey and Holguin – in November.
Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines revealed this week that it has been granted permission to launch daily flights from Atlanta, Miami and New York to Havana from 1 December 2016, and Alaska Airlines has been given the right to launch flights between Los Angeles and the Cuban capital.