The two countries which were bitter enemies at one point of time have reached an agreement to restart commercial air travel between themselves, thus continuing the gradual progress of improving their relations. The announcement is yet to be formally made. However, it is likely to be the biggest milestone so far in improving economic relations since the diplomacy began about one year ago.
Immediate results are not to be expected for passengers though, because even after the understanding is announced, many more months may pass in order for the two countries to negotiate the conditions of operating flights. The Associated Press is quoted as saying that after the USA expressed its desire last year to form diplomatic ties with Cuba and increase tourism and trade, there have been many takers for setting up flights between the two countries, including major air carriers such as Delta, JetBlue, American and Southwest.
Officials from the American aviation authorities predict that Cuba would permit more than a dozen services on a daily basis between the two countries. This would be a material improvement when compared with the current situation in which passengers need to either opt for expensive chartered aircraft or resort to unnecessary stopovers in a third country, which is very frustrating because in terms of geography there isn’t a very long distance between the two countries.
Thursday, i.e. the 17th of December will be one year since ties between the two countries began to be normalized. Earlier this year, the two countries had also reopened their respective embassies. In fact, last week itself, mail services were restored. This has happened after many decades during which officially the two countries were tight-lipped about their relations. The relations froze in 1961 after Castro rose to power as a result of the Cuban revolution. Now after some back channel diplomacy, relations seem to be improving.