US Department of Transportation lifts restrictions on flights to Cuba – WSB-TV Channel 2

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WASHINGTON — (AP) — The U.S. Department of Transportation on Wednesday made it easier for Americans to travel to Cuba, lifting flight restrictions that had been established under the Trump administration.

The restrictions had prevented US airline and charter flights from reaching Cuban cities other than Havana. Secretary of State Antony Blinken sent a letter to the Department of Transportation on Tuesday asking it to revoke the restrictions, and the agency followed through until Wednesday.

Blinken said opening flights to Cuba was “in support of the Cuban people and in the interest of United States foreign policy.” He said that once the Department of Transportation acts on his request, “scheduled and charter air service between the United States and Cuban airports could resume immediately.”

The Biden administration announced last month that it would expand flights to Cuba, take steps to ease restrictions on American travelers to the island, and lift restrictions on the money immigrants can send to residents of the island. ‘island.

The administration said it would also restore Cuba’s parole program for family reunification, which has a backlog of more than 20,000 applications, and increase consular services and visa processing.

“With these actions, we aim to support Cubans’ aspirations for freedom and greater economic opportunity so they can lead successful lives at home,” the State Department spokesperson said last month. , Ned Price.

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