US, Cuba reach understanding on restoring commercial flights

FILE - In this Nov. 1, 2001, file photo, the first passengers of the first flight of Continental Airlines from Miami Florida, arrives at the Jose Marti Airport of Havana, Cuba. The United States and Cuba have reached an understanding on restoring regularly scheduled commercial flights, Cuban and American officials said Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2016 on the eve of the anniversary of detente between the Cold War foes. (AP Photo/Jose Goitia, File)

HAVANA (AP) — Officials say the United States and Cuba have reached an understanding on restoring regularly scheduled commercial flights.

U.S. and Cuban officials said the aviation deal was reached Wednesday in Washington, a day before the anniversary of the declaration of detente between the former Cold War foes.

The deal paves the way for negotiations between the Cuban government and U.S. airlines that could take months, and it’s not clear when the first flights will take off. The three officials weren’t authorized to speak publicly and demanded anonymity.

American and Cuban travelers now must fly on charter flights that are complicated to book, rarely involve an online portal and often force prospective travelers to email documents and payment information back and forth with an agent.

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