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Houston Cleared for Cuban Charter Flights

Federal approval is given to Bush Intercontinental Airport

April 6, 2011

  © Houston Airport System
  Houston is now one of only thirteen cities approved by the U.S. Government for charter flights to and from Cuba.
George Bush Intercontinental Airport is now one of only thirteen airports in the United States authorized by the federal government to operate charter flights to and from Cuba.

The designation comes from the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection. This year the U.S. government has given approval to ten airports to operate charter flights between the U.S. and Cuba, and the City of Houston received its formal letter of approval for Bush Intercontinental Airport on March 22, 2011.

In the past, travel between Cuba and the United States was limited to three American airports, John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City, Los Angeles International Airport and Miami International Airport.

“We are excited about the opportunity to establish Houston as a gateway for Cuba charter flights,” says Genaro Peña, Houston Airports’ air service development director. “In the future, we believe Cuba will be a growth market for Houston and Texas, and through this designation, IAH will be well-positioned to become a gateway of choice for passengers and shippers from the Southern and Western U.S.”

Peña cautions that scheduled air service between Cuba and any American city will not likely happen any time soon, and potential passengers should know that significant restrictions remain for travel to Cuba from the United States.

Passengers must either have close relatives in Cuba, or be connected to qualified programs in the fields of medicine, agriculture, education or religion or other authorized areas.

“We have started working with a number of licensed carrier service providers who are authorized by the U.S. government to operate charter flights to Cuba, and they have all expressed interest in developing the Houston-Cuba charter market,” Peña says. “They see Houston as a growth market already tied to Latin America and the Caribbean.” 
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