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 - 21:00 GMT
Popular Holidays In Cuba Browse all
Dive into the warm water of Varadero beach and relax under the caribbean sunshine
- Book now and benefit from huge savings with the launch of the new Virgin Atlantic to Varadero offer!
- Suites feature a separate living area and Tropical suites feature breathtaking views of the sea
- Golf lovers can play on the nearby Varadero 18 hole golf course
Enjoy a wide range of added values, fun activities or relax and lie under the sun on exclusive private beach area in Varadero
- Never waste a minute of your holiday and enjoy all fun activities from waters sports to golf lessons at Breezes Bella Costa
- Experience Varadero to the fullest with fantastic options for couples, families or singles as there is something to suit everyone
- Memories Miramar Hotel has a fantastic location and is only a 5-minute walk from the nearest beach
Combine colourful and vibrant Havana with a relaxing summer 2017 beach holiday in an award winning resort on the shores of Varadero
- Book early and benifit from huge early bird summer discounts!
- Discover Havana by day visit the historial sites and by night you can listen to live music or dance to the Salsa beat
- Enjoy complimentary pool-based dive courses on offer for beginners and experience one free daily dive at the Royalton Hicacos
- Three freshwater pools including four whirlpools and signature swim-up pool bar at Royalton Hicacos ensure an unforgettable holiday
The unlimited heaven of tranquility in a perfect setting
- Well located in the heart of Havana's historic Old town, close to Central Park and minutes away from the National Theatre, the Capitol and Hemingway's favourite bar, the Floridita
- Iberostar Parque Central is a great base to discover all this unique city has to offer
- Activities throughout the day at Iberostar Varadero such as erobics, archery, basketball, beach volleyball, football, kayaking and much more.
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...
Discover the cultural and historical treasures of Havana as you're treated to 5-star service at the Iberostar Parque...
Are you searching for an adventurous holiday filled with culture, authenticity and charm? Then why not enjoy a twin...
Fancy a charming and adventurous holiday? Why not try our twin centre package that allows you to explore the contagious...
Beyond its sober elegance of Mudejar roots and the presence of round arches and red clay tile roof, it is known for its...