The first regularly scheduled direct charter flight between Havana and New York took off Tuesday from the Jose Marti International Airport with 10 people on board, ending more than a decade of interrupted air service.
The Cypress, Calif.-based travel agency Cuba Travel Services (CTS), which operates the new route, announced on its website the flight began on Tuesday.
According to CTS, the flight would initially be once a week and a Boeing 747-800 would cover the three-hour-and-40-minute route between New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport and Havana.
“We were waiting for the right moment” to launch the flights, CTS’ president of marketing, Emily Sanchez said.
The United States and Cuba announced in December they agreed to restore diplomatic ties after more than 50 years of icy relations.
In 1999, during Bill Clinton’s term in office, direct flights were authorized after more than 40 years, but the decision was overturned when George W. Bush succeeded him as president.
The diplomatic rapprochement has led to a relaxation in travel restrictions and greater contact between the two nations, including the creation of new flights, such as one between New Orleans and Havana.
CTS also flies between Miami and destinations around the Caribbean island.