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Bush Intercontinental Airport to Launch First Cuba Flights This Week

  • 01-Feb-12 14:56
  • Cuba
  • Chron

A large group of American travellers will be setting off on their Cuba holidays aboard the first charter flight from Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas on Thursday 2nd February with a special "people-to-people" trip through Marazul Charters.

Bush Intercontinental Airport to Launch First Cuba Flights This Week

The first Cuba-bound flight from Texas will be departing from Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston on Thursday 2nd February, 2012, with a group of 80 American travellers onboard.

This will be one of the first opportunities for American residents in Texas to legally take Cuba holidays under the new law that allows licensed travellers from the United States to visit the Caribbean island for religious, cultural, educational, academic, agricultural or professional purposes.

The Miami-based 737, which belongs to Miami Air International, will be carrying 80 passengers who booked their “people-to-people” holidays to Cuba through Marazul Charters.

Last year, President Barack Obama eased Cuba travel restrictions for American residents and in March, 2012 Bush Intercontinental Airport was cleared as one of the U.S airports that could offer direct charter flights to Cuba.

The Airport System issued a statement about the new flights to Havana, saying it was "a wonderful, historic opportunity" that could help the Houston airport to become a major "gateway" to Cuba.

 International Terminal, Bush Airport in Houston, Texas
Image by: kevincrumbs, on Flickr

The statement said: "While we do not have word today on any other charters over the near term, this is the first of what we expect will be many flights between Houston and Cuba as IAH becomes the gateway of choice for travellers authorised to fly to Cuba by the U.S. government."

The beautiful Caribbean island has been preparing for the influx of American visitors and tourism officials are welcoming the boost to the country’s tourism industry and economy as new American visitors eat in restaurants, stay in Cuba hotels and visit the island’s tourist attractions such as the museums, nature parks and beaches.

 Cuba beach
Image by: Reverend Sam, on Flickr

The decades-long embargo has prohibited American travellers from going on holidays to Cuba but President Obama relaxed the rules in January, 2011. Cuban-Americans, who were once restricted to limited travel back to their homeland (once every two years), can now freely return to Cuba under the new law.

Until recently, the only U.S airports who were permitted to operate Cuba flights were Miami, Los Angeles and New York. Several new airports have recently been added to the list and include Tampa, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, Los Angeles, Baltimore-Washington International, Dallas/Fort Worth, New Orleans, Chicago O'Hare, Pittsburgh and San Juan.

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