The United States and Cuba signed an agreement on Tuesday morning to resume commercial air traffic for the first time in five decades, starting the clock on dozens of new flights operating daily by next fall.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Cuban Transportation Minister Adel Yzquierdo Rodriguez signed the deal in a ceremony at Havana’s Hotel Nacional.
U.S. airlines can now start bidding on routes for as many as 110 U.S.-Cuba flights a day – more than five times the current number. All flights operating between the two countries today are charters.
The agreement allows 20 regular daily U.S. flights to Havana, in addition to the current 10-15 charter flights a day. The rest would be to other Cuban cities.
“Today is a historic day in the relationship between Cuba and the U.S.,” said Foxx. “It represents a critically important milestone in the U.S. effort to engage with Cuba.”
Yzquierdo Rodriguez said “the adoption of this memorandum is an important step that will soon permit the establishment of regular flights between the United States and Cuba.”