Proposal Could Become Final by Summer, With Flights Starting in Late 2016 to Early 2017

By Joshua Jamerson 
 Stock Market Quotes, Business News, Financial News from

Eight airlines could start operating as many as 20 daily flights from the U.S. to Havana as early as this fall, the Obama administration said Thursday, the latest move to normalize relations with Cuba.

The airlines the U.S. said could start service are Alaska Air Group Inc., American Airlines Group Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc., Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways Corp., Southwest Airlines Co., Spirit Airlines Inc. and United Continental Holdings Inc.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx made the announcement Thursday, calling the move part of President Barack Obama’s plan to restore diplomatic ties with the Communist island nation. Mr. Foxx said the proposal could reunite Cuban-American families and encourage opportunities for American businesses. The U.S. and Cuba agreed to thaw relations in 2014 after 50 years of hostility.

The proposal is expected to be completed this summer, with flights starting in late 2016 or early 2017.

The secretary said the department received applications from a dozen airlines, who collectively applied for more than 60 flights.

“In the end, we chose airlines that could offer and maintain the best ongoing service between the U.S. and Havana,” Mr. Foxx said.

United’s stock rose 2.7% in morning trading in New York as Delta rose 2%, American rose 3% and Southwest rose 1.7%. Shares of JetBlue rose 1.8%, Alaska increased 2.3% and Spirit climbed 3.2%.

Write to Joshua Jamerson at joshua.jamerson[a]

Copyright (c) 2016 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.