Frontier Airlines has become the first U.S. domestic carrier to win approval for launching flights to two smaller cities in Cuba from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Media reports said that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has approved the proposed flights by Frontier Airlines to two Cuban cities in its order released recently.
According to the reports, Frontier Airlines would now be conducting flights to Matanzas and Santiago de Cuba. The flights to both cities would be conducted from Chicago O’Hare airport. Matanzas is situated nearly 65 miles east of Cuban capital Havana. Santiago de Cuba is located on the southeastern tip of Cuba.
A spokesman of Denver-based Frontier Airlines said that the airline is planning to provide once a week flight services to Matanzas, while flights to Santiago de Cuba would be conducted once daily. The flights services on both routes are expected to be launched in December 2016. The airline is still yet to confirm the dates.
Earlier this year, some leading U.S. carriers such as United Airlines, American Airlines and Frontier Airlines had submitted proposals to DOT for creating new routes in the United States and Cuba. These carriers want to foray in the Caribbean nation and establish a strong presence.
Cuba is currently being seen as an emerging market for both business and leisure travelers. United Airlines had also sought DOT approval to launch flights to Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport from its hubs in Washington Dulles, Newark Liberty and Houston. DOT officials are also expected to grant approval to the airline for launching flights on the new routes sometime in 2016.
American Airlines has also won approval for launching flights to five smaller Cuban cities from its hub in Miami. These cities among other include Santa Clara and Camaguey.
It may be recalled that relations between the United States and Cuba had been strained for several decades. U.S. President Barack Obama had visited Cuba in 2015 aimed at establishing friendly ties once again between the two countries. The connections are being reestablished by opening up commercial aviation sectors between U.S. and Cuba.