WASHINGTON — In a major letdown to local leaders who wanted to see flights from D.C. to Cuba, the U.S. Department of Transportation has decided to leave local airports off a list of places that are authorized to offer flights to Havana.
Under the department’s decision, flights to Cuba’s capital will be departing from ten U.S. airports as early as the fall.
The airports include Atlanta, Charlotte, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York City, Orlando and Tampa.
“Restoring regular air service holds tremendous potential to reunite Cuban American families and foster education and opportunities for American businesses of all sizes,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
Dulles International Airport was considered as a possibility, but it was ultimately turned down.
In a statement, the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce said it was “disappointed in the decision” but “hopeful that the application will ultimately be approved and Northern Virginia businesses will gain access to this new market.”
Under an agreement between the U.S. and Cuba, each country may operate up to 20 daily roundtrip flights between U.S. cities and Havana.
Also, each country can have up to 10 daily roundtrip flights between U.S. cities and each of Cuba’s nine international airports, which are not in Havana. The Department of Transportation announced in June that airports authorized to offer that particular service include Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul and Philadelphia.
Airlines passengers from the U.S. who wish to visit Cuba need to meet one of 12 conditions in order to fly there. Simply being a tourist is not among them.
Here are the conditions:
- Family visits
- Official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations
- Journalistic activity
- Professional research and professional meetings
- Educational activities
- Religious activities
- Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions
- Support for the Cuban people
- Humanitarian projects
- Activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes
- Exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials
- Certain authorized export transactions
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