First Commercial Flight From U.S. Lands In Cuba

August 31, 2016

The first commercial flight in more than 50 years from the United States landed in Cuba today, with JetBlue Flight 387 touching down about an hour after leaving Fort Lauderdale, Florida with 150 passengers on board.

JetBlue is the first U.S. airline to resume regularly scheduled airline service under new rules allowing Americans greater access to Cuba. Soon, as many as 110 daily flights from 10 airlines will depart the U.S. for the island nation, CBS reports.

“We wanted to be first to Cuba and our crew members wanted to be first in Cuba,” said JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes. “This is going to make travel not only easier, but much more affordable, and that’s going to encourage many more people to travel.”

The first two passengers off the plane carried US and Cuban flags as they descended the stairs onto the tarmac, where they symbolically exchanged the banners in a sign of friendship, AFP reports.

The JetBlue flight was flown by Captain Mark Luaces and First Officer Francisco Barreras, both Americans of Cuban descent.

According to CNN, up to a maximum of 110 daily flights operated by such carriers as JetBlue, American Airlines, Delta, Frontier, Southwest and Silver Airways are due to begin flying to Cuba.

Last year the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association [CHTA] released a position paper on the impact for the wider tourism industry due to the opening of travel to Cuba for United States citizens, calling it the “biggest and most disruptive pebble to be dropped into the Caribbean pool in fifty years.”

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  1. Triangle Drifter says:

    And so it begins.