The Biden administration is restoring flights to Cuban cities other than Havana and reestablishing a family reunification program suspended for years, following recommendations of a long-anticipated review of U.S. policy toward Cuba, senior administration officials told McClatchy and the Miami Herald on Monday.
You’ll again need to go through the farce of being part of “group travel for educational or professional exchanges” but experience shows these are restrictions in name only. “People-to-people” will again be an educational travel category though non-group travel will remain prohibited.
The Biden administration will also lift the $1000 every three months cap on family remittances implemented during the Trump presidency. Payment will also be permitted to independent Cuban entrepreneurs. Your next website may be designed by a Cuban doctor and their partner may open an Etsy store.
And allowing flights between the U.S. and cities beyond Havana will make it easier for people in the U.S. to visit families in the rest of the country.
As I wrote when travel first re-started flights to Cuba represent a new opportunity for airlines to lose money, with the caveat that right now it seems possible to fly anywhere that travelers are permitted to go and fill planes at exorbitant fares. Indeed remember that American cut 23% of its Cuba schedule before Trump took office.
- Pretty much all traffic for these flights will originate in the US. There’s almost no customer base to support these flights in Cuba.
- Planes will be filled predominantly with leisure travel. Cuba isn’t a strong business destination.
- Infrastructure in Cuba, from the airport to hotels, is wholly inadequate to match an aviation boom and influx of tourists.
- Havana is an expensive airport to operate at, with costs that make Miami look like Branson, Missouri.
Fishing on the Malecón in Havana
Those 13 and up must be vaccinated to travel to Cuba. The requirement for a negative PCR test within 72 hours of travel was lifted last month.