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Next Week U.S., Cuba Will Agree To Re-Establish Commercial Air Travel

The U.S. and Cuba will sign a civil aviation agreement in Havana on Tuesday, re-establishing air service between the two countries for the first time in decades, the U.S. Department of Transportation said.

The signing formalizes the arrangement that was reached Dec. 16, stating that a certain number of flights would be allowed to fly from the U.S. to Cuba every day. As the Two-Way previously reported:

"The deal allows for up to 20 flights to Havana per day, and up to 10 daily flights to other Cuban cities. State Department spokeswoman Kerry Humphrey says that, besides Havana, there are nine international airports in Cuba — so the deal allows for 110 possible flights per day."

Starting on Tuesday, U.S. airlines will have a 15-day window to submit applications to serve Havana and the other Cuban cities, the Miami Herald reports. The newspaper adds:

"Decisions on which airlines and which U.S. cities will have commercial service to Cuba are expected to be made by this summer and the first scheduled flights could begin by next fall, Brandon Belford, deputy assistant for aviation and international affairs at the Department of Transportation, said Friday."

Scheduled flights to Cuba are expected to start later this year, according to the DOT. Charter flights, currently the only air transportation options between the two countries, will be allowed to continue at an unlimited frequency, Humphrey said in December.