US Transportation Secretary proposes US airlines, cities for new scheduled service to Havana

US Department of Transportation (DOT) has proposed to select eight US airlines to begin scheduled flights between Atlanta, Charlotte, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York City, Orlando, and Tampa and Havana as early as fall 2016, the department said.

The proposal comes nearly one year after the United States and Cuba reestablished diplomatic relations in July 2015.

The US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said restoring service holds potential to reunite Cuban American families and foster education and opportunities for American businesses.

A dozen US airlines have applied for the chance to operate scheduled passenger and cargo service to Havana. Collectively, the airlines applied for nearly 60 flights per day to Havana, exceeding the 20 daily flights made available by arrangement between the two governments. The department´s principal objective in making its proposed selections was to maximize public benefits, including choosing airlines that offered and could maintain the best ongoing service between the US and Havana.

The airlines receiving the tentative awards are Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and United Airlines.

DOT´s proposal allocates nonstop Havana service to areas of substantial Cuban-American population, as well as to important aviation hub cities.