The administration of President Joe Biden on Wednesday revoked a series of restrictions on flights to Cuba imposed by his predecessor, including ending a prohibition on U.S. airline flights to Cuban airports other than Havana.
Reuters reported that the U.S. Transportation Department (USDOT) issued the order at the request of Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who said the action was “in support of the Cuban people, and in the foreign policy interests of the United States.”
Last month, The White House had signaled the planned move as part of a broader policy revision toward Cuba. The flight restrictions have been lifted effective immediately. This is the first of the recently announced measures to be implemented.
The Trump administration issued a series of aviation restrictions in 2019 and 2020 to increase U.S. economic pressure on the Cuban government.
They included barring U.S. carriers from flying to eight international airports in Cuba outside of Havana, including those in Camaguey, Cayo Coco, Cayo Largo, Cienfuegos, Manzanillo, Matanzas, and Santiago de Cuba.
The U.S. State Department announced on Monday, May 16, limited measures toward Cuba, reversing some of the more than 240 decisions made by the Trump Administration.
Biden said he would also reinstate a family reunification program that had been suspended for years.
The statement said consular services and visa processing would be increased, and facilities would be provided for families to visit relatives in Cuba and “for authorized U.S. travelers to interact with the Cuban people, attend meetings, and conduct research.”