United Airlines seeks to resume U.S. flights to Cuba

United Airlines said on Wednesday it is working to resume flights to Cuba later this year that it suspended in March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The Chicago-based U.S. airline said it has been working for months to relaunch service but faces hurdles. It asked the U.S. Transportation Department (USDOT) for a waiver for 30 additional days as it works to resume service.

United previously flew seven flights weekly to Havana from its Houston and Newark hubs. United said it needs to “undertake significant work including re-negotiating multiple contracts with service providers that have lapsed, building out necessary infrastructure in Terminal 3 at Havana’s airport where United is being relocated.”

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In June, USDOT lifted a series of restrictions on flights to Cuba imposed under former President Donald Trump, including ending a prohibition on U.S. airline flights to smaller Cuban airports outside Havana.

At the time, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the action was “in support of the Cuban people, and in the foreign policy interests of the United States.”

The Trump administration had barred passenger airline flights to smaller Cuban airports.

In July, American Airlines received permission to resume service to some smaller Cuban airports. American sought approval for flights from Miami to Santa Clara, Holguin, Matanzas/Varadero and Santiago de Cuba.

Source: Reuters

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