First Flight Since 1962 Leaves Tampa for Cuba

Thursday, 08 Sep 2011 01:53 PM

By Andra Varin

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A flight took from Florida’s Tampa International Airport bound for Havana Thursday for the first time since 1962, according to the St. Petersburg Times.

King Air Flight 1221 was sold out, with 150 passengers each paying $445 for a round-trip ticket, the Times said. The charter flight is the result of a years-long effort by airport and political leaders to get federal officials to approve nonstop flights to Cuba from more U.S. cities.

Until recently, New York, Los Angeles, and Miami had been the only federally approved gateways from the United States to Cuba.
 
Tampa and seven other airports were added in March. The Tampa Bay area has the third largest population of Cuban-Americans in the United States after South Florida and metropolitan New York.

Travel is limited to Cuban Americans with close relatives on the island, and people on business, educational, religious, or humanitarian trips.

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