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US-Cuba Bilateral Relations Expected To Boost Up With Resumption of Commercial Flights After 50 Years

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February 14
1:11 AM 2016

Anthony Foxx, the US Transportation Secretary and his entourage from the State Department are scheduled to fly for Cuba on Tuesday to sign a deal on resumption of commercial flights. The US officials have announced the deal on Friday which will resume the flights between the two countries just after five decades.

Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro announced trade relationships in late 2014, paves the way to reach the agreement. US carriers will get a fifteen-day deadline to submit applications to the Department of Transportation for routes to fly between the US and Cuba, reports CNN.

The Obama administration seems to make rapid progress on developing economic and diplomatic ties with Cuba prior to leaving Oval office. The relationships are believed to get momentum with the probable visit of the US Premier to Havana by the end of March, reports The Denver Post quoting Thomas Engle, deputy assistant secretary of state for transportation affairs.

The deal will enable US airlines to initiate bidding on routes for 110 Cuba bound flights every day. The number of probable flights is more than five times compared to the current flights operating on charter. However, the US transportation officials expects to parcel the routes out among carriers by this summer and prior to Obama's leaving from the White House, reports Global News.

The agreement allows 20 regular daily US flights to Havana which will add to 10 to 15 charter flights each day. The rest of the flights will be bound to other Cuban airports posing less demand than the flights routed to the capital.

Around 160,000 tourists from the US have flown to Cuba last year. Furthermore, hundreds of thousands of Cuban Americans visits family frequently through charter flights from Florida.

Resumption of commercial flights is expected to attract more US travelers every year since the deal will make travel process far easier. The deal will also offer features like online booking and 24-hour customer service that are largely absent in the charter industry.

After signing the agreement with the Cuban aviation authority, officials from both countries are expected to complete the entire process by the fall. Many US carriers are waiting to bid for Cuba flights while keeping the preferred routes as secret.

American Airlines, United Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Spirit Airlines, South West Airlines and Delta Airlines have expressed their willingness to bid for Cuban routes. Of them, American Airlines and JetBlue Airways currently conduct charter flights from the US to different destinations of Cuba.

More than 160,000 tourists have visited Cuba during 2015. The Cuban Americans' frequent trips for meeting their relatives increase the passenger number immensely. Observing the bilateral economic and trade prospects, President Obama intends to strengthen the relationship through resuming commercial flights between the countries. US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx's agreement signing on Tuesday with Cuba will allow resumption of commercial flights after fifty consecutive years.

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