Cuba confirms to sign agreement with US to resume direct flights

Updated: 2016-02-14 11:02


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HAVANA - The Cuban government confirmed Saturday that it will sign a memorandum of understanding with the United States on Feb. 16 to formally re-establish direct flights.

"On Tuesday, February16, the signing ceremony will take place in the National Hotel of Cuba," said a press release by the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

After the agreement is signed, airlines will have 15 days to submit their proposals to the US Department of Transportation for routes.

At least five major American airlines, United, Delta, American, Southwest and JetBlue, have shown an interest in establishing formal links to the island.

While the eventual number of flights and routes will depend on the demand, the agreement to be signed will establish a potential for over 100 daily flights to Cuba, 20 to Havana, and 10 each for nine other airports, including Santiago de Cuba, Matanzas, Camagyey, Manzanillo and Santa Clara.

Furthermore, airlines from both sides will be able to sign commercial agreement, such as shared flight codes and leasing of planes.

However, Thomas Engle, assistant secretary of state in Washington, said on Saturday that this agreement will now allow flights of Cuban passengers to the United States.