Cuba approves Havana-Tampa charter flights

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.

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