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US-Cuba agree commercial flights deal

US-Cuba agree commercial flights deal

The United States and Cuba have agreed to restore regular commercial flights, in a deal that could jumpstart economic relations between the two countries.

The agreement paves the way for thousands of visitors to the island on a daily basis.

The deal was announced on Thursday, exactly one year since President Barack Obama and President Raul Castro announced a historic detente.

It is not known when the first Cuba-bound flights will take off.

The pact - the most significant business development since the presidents' announcement one year ago - allows US airlines to negotiate with the Cuban government over commercial flight routes and schedules.

It could mean more than a dozen flights arriving into Cuba from the US a day, officials said.

The understanding is a key development as Cuba and the US continue to negotiate over a number of issues which could ultimately see the US trade embargo lifted.

The news comes as travel between the US and Cuba surged by over 70% this year, according to Reuters.

Thousands of Americans are already visiting the island and hotels and hostels are booked for months.

But those travelling have to do so using difficult-to-book charter flights or via third countries, and are forced to navigate an intricate web of laws in order for their travel to be legal.

The State Department reminded US citizens on Thursday that a ban on touristic travel to Cuba remains in place.

(BBC News)

 

Last modified on Friday, 18 December 2015 08:44