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CLT To Havana Flights Could Happen Soon, USDOT Says

Charlotte is one of 10 U.S. cities that could get nonstop flights to Havana, Cuba, under tentative plans announced Thursday by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The other cities are: Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York City, Orlando, and Tampa.

American Airlines, the largest airline at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, could get one flight a day, according to the USDOT proposal. (See a list of all the proposed airlines and flights on the DOT website. )

Service would start as early as this fall, after final approval later this summer.

Natalie English with the Charlotte Chamber said a direct flight would be positive for both Charlotte businesses and those in Cuba. 

"We believe the flight will allow Charlotte business historic access to potential customers in Cuba and it will provide Cubans  with greater access to Charlotte businesses and financial institutions," she said. 

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, a former Charlotte mayor, announced the proposal Thursday morning. The U.S. is in the midst of normalizing relations with Cuba, which were severed in 1961. 

"Today we take another important step toward delivering on President Obama’s promise to re-engage Cuba,” Foxx said in a press release. "Restoring regular air service holds tremendous potential to reunite Cuban American families and foster education and opportunities for American businesses of all sizes."

The USDOT said a dozen U.S. airlines applied to operate passenger and cargo service to Havana. Altogether, they've proposed 60 daily flights, which is more than the 20 flights agreed upon in talks between Washington and Havana.

Other airlines the DOT selected for tentative service are: Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and United Airlines.