On Tuesday Continental Airlines began offering direct flights from Los Angeles International Airport to Havana, Cuba.
Cuba Travel Services Inc. will offer a chartered flight every Tuesday on a Boeing 737-800 operated by Continental Airlines. The flight will take off from LAX at 11 a.m.
Most travel from the United States to Cuba has been banned since an embargo was imposed on Cuba in 1962. Cuban-Americans were allowed to visit their families under various policies, however. About five years ago, President George W. Bush placed a three times a year limit on such trips for Cuban-Americans. His administration also more tightly regulated who could accompany them as family members on the trips.
President Obama repealed those restrictions in April. Cuba Travel says it hopes its new flights will be possible with the 100,000 Cuban-Americans living in California, some 85,000 of those in Los Angeles. The company also hopes to serve "journalists, government officials and researchers, as well as sports teams, educational facilities and other groups."
Cuba Travel Services was formed by a group of Los Angeles business professionals to facilitate a better understanding between the United States and Cuba.