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United Airlines To Offer Nonstop Flight From Houston To Havana

Houston is one of 10 cities the U.S. Department of Transportation chose for the connection.

Playa Ancon, Trinidad de Cuba

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Thursday that it has tentatively awarded eight airlines to fly to Havana from 10 U.S. cities.

United Airlines is set to fly from Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport once a week starting this fall.

Southwest, JetBlue and Spirit Airlines are scheduled to offer twice daily flights from Ft. Lauderdale.

It will be the first time in 50 years that commercial airliners offer scheduled flights between the two countries.

This does not mean anyone will be able to fly to Cuba. Currently, travelers have to fall into one of 12 categories, such as family visits, humanitarian missions or professional research.

In a statement, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner praised the preliminary decision to approve the Houston-Havana flight.

He said there are about 20,000 Cuban Americans here and that the new service will also benefit travelers from the central and western United States.

A total of 12 U.S. airlines applied to offer flights to Cuba. They have until the end of the month to submit comments before the Department of Transportation makes a final decision.

Editor's Note: This story has been corrected from an earlier version. Southwest, JetBlue and Spirit Airlines are scheduled to offer flights from Ft. Lauderdale to Cuba. There are currently no flights scheduled from Dallas to Cuba as we previously reported. We regret the error.