First flight to Cuba marks piece of history
American travellers taking Cuba holidays experienced a historic moment yesterday as the first Havana-bound airplane took off from Tampa International Airport for the first time in over 50 years, following an ease in travel restrictions.
Travellers onboard a flight to Cuba yesterday experienced a piece of history as the plane departed Tampa International Airport and made its way to Havana for the first time in over 50 years.
American travellers will now be able to take Cuba holidays following the eased restrictions announced by President Obama earlier this year. The U.S residents will be able to legally travel to the communist country for the first time in decades if they are visiting for cultural, educational, academic, religious or professional purposes.
Cuban-Americans are also free to visit to their homeland as often as they like following changes to the law last year and the new flights from Tampa International Airport provides a short 75-minute journey to the Caribbean island.
First-officer Robb Williams from Lakeland was the pilot of the inaugural flight of the Boeing 737 on Thursday 8th August, 2011. Prior to the flight, he said: "I feel honoured. I grew up here in the Tampa Bay area and I just feel honoured to be a part of (the flight)."
Until now, the United States government restricted the limited Cuba travel to three airports: Miami, New York and Los Angeles. The changes in the law have also allowed several additional airports in the U.S to provide charter flights to Cuba. These include Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta; O'Hare in Chicago; Baltimore in Maryland; Dallas/Fort Worth in Texas; New Orleans in Louisiana; Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The first charter flight was on a plane owned by Sky King Inc., a company that is partnered with Xael Charters Inc. who will be providing the flights for U.S travellers taking holidays in Cuba under the "people to people" scheme ot just visiting family.
Eddie Levy, co-owner of Xael said: "This is very good for the Tampa area," Levy said. "Americans from anywhere in the U.S. can choose to fly from Tampa. We are very honoured to have a part in this very historic event."
Xael Charter will operate one flight a week to Cuba with the hope of increasing the service during the busy holiday season. The new flights are expecting to bring an influx of visitors to the island’s attractions, historic sites, beaches, restaurants and Cuba hotels.
Talk to a specialist
Call 020 7644 1770 to speak with our award-winning travel consultants.
Opening hours 09:00 - 20:00 GMT
Popular Holidays In Cuba Browse all
Enjoy the long list of fun options for all the family or bask on Varadero's pure white sands
- Virgin Atlantic Sale, huge reductions sale ends 31st Jul 2017
- Sample a host of activities including snorkelling, kayaking, windsurfing, golf and more.
- Located on a gorgeous stretch of Varadero beach.
- Enjoy 24-hour all-inclusive service.
Ideal for trendy couples - stay at a chic and sleek hotel in the heart of vibrant Havana and then Stay next to Cuba's famous Varadero beach
- Exclusive Couples offer - Welcome Cocktail, 1 hour free Wifi Access in Havana plus a bottle of wine on arrival, 30-minute massage and a Romantic Dinner in Varadero
- Book now and get a free upgrade to the sea view at Blau Varadero - limited availability
- Be swept away by the amazing views of Havana from Capri's rooftop pool
- Blau Vardero offers something for everyone with as little or as much as you want to do on offer including a spa
A couples' special - enjoy the perfect mix of history, local culture and laidback beach retreat for the perfect romantic Cuban experience.
- Enjoy all kind of the Spa treatments, water and land sports at Blau Varadero
- Fantastic views to the ocean from the modern and elegant rooms with balcony or terrace
- The perfect location of Blau Varadero beside the pristine sandy beach
The unlimited heaven of tranquillity in a perfect setting
- Iberostar Parque Central Hotel is a great base to discover Havana's historic Old Town.
- Activities throughout the day at Iberostar Varadero Hotel , including aerobics, archery, basketball, beach volleyball, football, kayaking and more.
- The luxurious 5 star accommodation ensures a comfortable adventure.
Varadero is a showpiece of Cuba's natural beauty; stunning white beaches, turquoise waters and clusters of lofty palm...
Get the best of Havana and Varadero with this fabulous combination of city and beach in two of Cuba's finest hotels, the...
Combine exploring the old dimes of Havana with a refreshing beach retreat in Vardero on an unforgettable twin centre...
Villa Romero is beautiful in its design, and its comfortable rooms are pleasantly decorated to a high standard, offering...
Are you searching for an adventurous holiday filled with culture, authenticity and charm? Then why not enjoy a twin...
Enjoy a hearty welcome from hosts that exude contagious Cuban charm on an escape to Cuba. Explore not only the vibrant...