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First US Flight to Cuba’s Capital in over 50 Years Lands in Havana

The first American flight to Cuba in 50 years has landed in the country’s capital on Monday.

The Hill reports:

Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Anthony Foxx was on the direct American Airlines flight to Havana, which took off from Miami International Airport.

“I had the privilege of joining the passengers and crew on that flight this morning as it left Miami and made the one hour journey across the Florida Strait, marking another important milestone in our ongoing efforts to reengage with Cuba,” Foxx said in a statement.

“The return of scheduled, commercial air travel, is bringing together families, providing important education and cultural benefits to both countries, and opening up business and economic opportunities.”

Commercial flights to Cuba resumed this summer, connecting five U.S. cities with nine other destinations across the island nation. By the end of this month, U.S. airlines will have completed nearly 940 round-trip flights on those routes.

Resuming scheduled air service with Cuba has been a key step in President Obama’s efforts to restore diplomatic relations with the former Cold War rival.

U.S. tourism to the island is still banned. The new flight routes open up travel for family visits, official U.S. government business, foreign governments, journalistic activity, professional research, educational activities, religious activities, public performances, humanitarian projects and certain authorized export transactions.

But President-elect Donald Trump’s victory — along with Castro’s death — have renewed calls to reevaluate the diplomatic thaw with Cuba, casting uncertainty on the fate of the direct flights.

“As the President said on Saturday, in the days ahead, the Cuban people will recall the past and also look to the future,” Foxx said.

“The steps we have taken over the last two years have brought us closer together and flights like these build on that progress as we look to improve the lives of the Cuban people and advance the interests of the United States.”

Photo credit: Raw Story.

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