Direct weekly flight between Orlando International Airport and Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, Cuba will start July 8, according to a press release of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority.
The flight will be chartered by Island Travel & Tours (ITT) and will depart each Wednesday from Florida’s International Airport, said Bill Hauf, the president and owner of the travel company which is based in Tampa. The flight will last about 90 minutes and will carry 120 passengers at a time. A roundtrip coach ticket will start at $429 with baggage fees $35 for the first bag and increasing after that. A second weekly flight, that will take place on Sundays, is set to be added in the summer.
Hauf added the company is planning to use a Boeing 737 aircraft with 112 coach seats and eight first-class seats.
The trip is possible because in January, the Obama administration loosened strict travel restictions to Cuba which has been a subject of an American embargo since 1960.
The new rules allow American citizens to book flights to Cuba without the permission of the U.S. government. However, general licences for travel are not granted for tourism. Passengers have to fill out a form. Permission is only granted to travelers falling into 12 categories, including family visitation, athletics, journalism, people on humanitarian or religious missions, or those on accredited cultural education programs. In addition, American citizens will be allowed to use credit cards which previously was prohibited.
Island Travel & Tours currently operates direct flights between Miami and Havana. Official of the company say they can also provide travelers with visas and accommodation.
The new destination “further positions Orlando International Airport as a gateway to desired destinations around the world”, according to Phil Brown, executive director of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority.