U.S.-Cuba flight restrictions imposed under Trump lifted

The administration of US President Joe Biden on Wednesday revoked a series of restrictions on flights to Cuba imposed by his predecessor, including the end of a ban on US airline flights to Cuban airports other than Havana.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) issued the order at the request of Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who said the action was “in support of the Cuban people and in the interest of U.S. foreign policy.” United”.

Last month, the White House signaled the planned move as part of a broader policy review toward Cuba. Flight restrictions have been lifted with immediate effect.

The Trump administration had issued a series of aviation restrictions in 2019 and 2020 in an effort to increase US economic pressure on the Cuban government.

In particular, they banned American carriers from flying to eight international airports in Cuba outside of Havana, including those in Camaguey, Cayo Coco, Cayo Largo, Cienfuegos, Manzanillo, Matanzas and Santiago de Cuba.

Under President Donald Trump, the USDOT imposed a cap on charter flights to Cuba at 3,600 per year and then suspended private charter flights to Cuba. The department also banned charter flights to all Cuban airports except Havana.

Then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Cuba “uses tourism and travel funds to fund its abuse and interference in Venezuela. Dictators cannot be allowed to benefit from US travel. United”.

The USDOT under Trump allowed public charters permitted to and from Havana and other charter flights permitted “for emergency medical, search and rescue, and other travel deemed in the best interests of the United States”.

With US airlines facing full flights and some with staff shortages, it is unclear how many new flights to Cuba could be added.

As a result of the order, the USDOT dismissed as moot pending requests for emergency exemptions and assignment of public charter flights to Havana.

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