JetBlue is planning to offer regularly scheduled trips to Cuba beginning this month, thereby becoming the first U.S. airline to do so in more than 50 years.
The nonstop flights, which will begin on Aug. 31, will be between Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Santa Clara, Cuba. JetBlue will offer three flights per week until Oct. 1, when daily service begins. One-way fares will start at $99.
JetBlue plans to start offering daily flights between Fort Lauderdale and two other cities—Camaguey and Holguin, on Nov. 3 and Nov. 10, respectively. Flights to Havana have not been announced, but the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) tentatively awarded the airline rights to fly there from Fort Lauderdale, New York City and Orlando.
The U.S. Treasury Department no longer requires special licenses to visit Cuba, but general tourism is still prohibited. Travelers must affirm their visit falls under one of 12 categories, such as educational, religious and humanitarian projects.
DOT has granted American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Silver Airways, Southwest Airlines and Sun Country Airlines permission to fly to Cuban cities other than Havana. The flights would originate in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, Philadelphia and Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Eight carriers—Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines and United Airlines—subsequently were granted tentative permission to fly to Havana. The flights would be from Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, as well as Newark, New Jersey, and Tampa, Florida.
Flights to Havana were awarded later because U.S. airlines requested more flights than were allowed on the routes. DOT is reviewing public objections to its granting the Havana flights, but typically, its tentative permissions for routes such as these become final.