TAMPA, Fla., (Reuters) – The Cuban government has given the green light to air service between Tampa and Havana and charter flights could begin as early as September 10, the chief executive of the Tampa airport said yesterday.
The weekly flights will be on ABC Charters of Miami, which already flies between Miami and Cuba.
“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,” Joe Lopano, CEO of Tampa International Airport, said in a statement.
Tampa airport officials said there were about 140,000 people of Cuban ancestry living within 90 minutes of the airport. The Tampa Bay area ranks second in the nation only to the Miami area in the size of its Cuban-American population, according to the U.S. Census.
Tampa was one of eight U.S. cities approved for charter flights to Cuba in March by the U.S. government but Havana had not given its go ahead for the Tampa flights until now.