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U.S., Cuban governments approve flights between Tampa, Florida and Cuba


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U.S., Cuban governments approve flights between Tampa, Florida and Cuba

2011-07-28 13:24:36 GMT+7 (ICT)

TAMPA, FLORIDA (BNO NEWS) – The Cuban government on Wednesday authorized passenger flights to take place between Cuba and Florida's Tampa International Airport after almost 50 years, the airport announced.

Tessie Aral, President of ABC Charters, a Carrier Service Provider (CSP) with license to provide travel and charter services to Cuba, said it has secured Cuba Landing Rights for Tampa International Airport. She informed airport officials that Tampa's first flight to the Caribbean island could be as early as September 10, 2011.

"This is a monumental day. It took many people and many years working together to secure Tampa International Airport as the new gateway airport to Cuba," said Joe Lopano, CEO of Tampa International Airport. "Accessing this vital international destination will benefit all of Tampa Bay with its economic impact and it is great news for our Cuban-American community."

The State of Florida, by U.S. Census statistics, has the largest Cuban-American population in the United States. The airport said there are nearly 140,000 people of Cuban ancestry living within 90 minutes of Tampa International Airport.

"ABC Charters is proud to facilitate the reunification of the Cuban American families in Tampa and the adjoining areas," Aral said. "They no longer will need to drive several hours to Miami, so they can visit their families in Cuba."

During the 1960s, Tampa International Airport provided regularly scheduled services to Havana aboard National Airlines with a pre-jet airliner DC-7B. Since then, there was no flight service between Tampa's airport, which is the 30th busiest in North America, and the Caribbean island.

On March 7, the Tampa International Airport received official approval from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to operate Cuba flights and now it has Cuban Landing Rights to provide such service.

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-- © BNO News All rights reserved 2011-07-28

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