After more than fifty decades, commercial airlines are resuming flights to Cuba. When word got out about this information, airlines from around the United States jumped on the bandwagon. But now that it has been six months since the announcement, many airlines in places where going to Cuba means stopping in Tampa, have decided to drop the plan altogether. However, the plans seem to be doing very well at Tampa International Airport.

Destination Cuba

There are more people in the Tampa area wanting to go to the island nation have been doubling since the announcement of Southwest flights to Cuba.

Mark Elias who charters airplanes to operate Havana Air says that he is happy to see the change coming to the island nation. Mark Elias told tampa bay times he is also working on getting his landing rights from the Cuban government within the next month.

Southwest Airlines offered their Commercial Flights to Cuba starting Dec. 12 of last year. "There were many days in December where an empty seat was hard to come by," said spokesman Brad Hawkins for Southwest Airlines in an email to the Tampa Bay Times. In January this year, the total number of passengers doing these non-stop flights to Cuba have jumped 32 percent from last year.

Travel restrictions

Under the deal between the United States and Cuba, travelers cannot go to the nation for tourism; they have to go based on medical or educational enrichment.

In Florida, the most often checked box includes medical due to the advancement of medicine and doctoral training on the island. But there are also some flight restrictions put in place as well. So far there are only 110 daily commercial flights allowed to the island. 20 of those flights go to Havana, daily. Of the nine other cities on the island, only those will be able to receive 10 flights a day.

There have been other cities in the bidding for commercial flights on Cuba, but nearly one dozen U.S. airlines have been applying to 60 different flights to Havana from 20 cities inside the United States. But only eight airlines and ten airports can split their share of Havana as their destination.