Press Release

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor’s statement on first regular commercial flight today between Tampa and Cuba

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Washington, December 12, 2016 | comments
“New commercial airline service between Tampa and Cuba marks another important milestone for families on both sides of the Florida Straits. I am proud that the Tampa community has been at the forefront of positive change in America’s relationship with the Cuban people. We must turn the page on the Cold War policies of the past and build new bridges to jobs and economic opportunities for Tampa residents and the Cuba people. The regular Southwest Airline flight from Tampa International Airport is the culmination of years of advocacy with the Obama Administration. The flight is affordable and will connect families, students, cultural institutions at a pivotal time in the history of U.S./Cuba relations.”
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“New commercial airline service between Tampa and Cuba marks another important milestone for families on both sides of the Florida Straits. I am proud that the Tampa community has been at the forefront of positive change in America’s relationship with the Cuban people. We must turn the page on the Cold War policies of the past and build new bridges to jobs and economic opportunities for Tampa residents and the Cuba people. The regular Southwest Airline flight from Tampa International Airport is the culmination of years of advocacy with the Obama Administration. The flight is affordable and will connect families, students, cultural institutions at a pivotal time in the history of U.S./Cuba relations.”

Cuba Travel Timeline

12/16/2008 – Castor letter to President-elect Barack Obama

  • Requesting a fresh look at U.S.-Cuban relations, call to expand family travel opportunities

2/3/2009 – Castor letter to Mr. Tom Winkowski, Assistant Commissioner of United States Customs & Border Protection

  • Requesting that he consider adding Tampa to the list of designated cities so that it can act as a port of entry/exit in U.S.-Cuba air charter flights

04/13/2009 – President Obama lifts travel restrictions for families

4/14/2009 - Letters to Secretary Locke, Secretary Clinton, Secretary Geithner

  • Requesting addition of Tampa Airport to the current list of cities designated under Title 19 CFR, Chapter 1, Part 122, Section 122.153 as authorized port of entry/exit for U.S.-Cuba air charter flights.

7/20/2010 – Castor signs on to bill to lift travel ban for all Americans (first in Florida delegation to do so)

1/14/2011 – President Obama expands airports and travel opportunities

2/3/2011 – Castor letter of support for Tampa International Airport’s application for permission to accept Cuba charter flights

3/7/2011 – Tampa International Airport Gets Federal OK for Charter Flights to Cuba

7/27/2011 – ABC Charter receives landing rights from TIA to Havana

9/8/2011 – First charter flight from Tampa to Havana

3/9/2016 – Castor letter to Secretary Foxx supporting applications for direct commercial flights from Tampa International Airport to Cuba

8/31/2016 – Final selection of U.S. airlines, cities for new service to Havana, including Southwest Airlines direct service from Tampa to Havana

12/12/2016 – Inaugural Southwest Airlines flight from Tampa to Havana

 

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