US lifts Cuba flight restrictions imposed under Trump | CNN


The administration of President Joe Biden on Wednesday lifted a series of restrictions on flights to Cuba imposed by his predecessor, including ending a ban on US airlines’ flights to Cuban airports other than Havana.

The US Transportation Department (USDOT) issued the order at the request of Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who said the move was “in support of the Cuban people and in the interests of the foreign policy of the United States.”

The White House had announced the planned move last month as part of a broader policy review on Cuba. The flight restrictions have been lifted with immediate effect.

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

These included banning US airlines from flying to eight international airports in Cuba outside Havana, including those in Camaguey, Cayo Coco, Cayo Largo, Cienfuegos, Manzanillo, Matanzas and Santiago de Cuba.

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

Then Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Cuba is “using tourism and travel money to fund its abuses and interference in Venezuela. Dictators should not benefit from traveling to the US.”

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

With US airlines dealing with full flights and some with staff shortages, it’s not clear how many new flights can be added to Cuba.

As a result of the injunction, USDOT has rejected the applications for emergency waivers and for the allocation of public charter flights in Havana as disputed pending applications.

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