NEW YORK — Six U.S. airlines are now cleared for takeoff to Cuba.
The Department of Transportation approved American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Silver Airways, Southwest Airlines and Sun Country Airlines to offer flights between the two nations.
The flights could be available as early as this fall, and will be departing from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis/St. Paul.
Friday’s approval re-establishes air service between the United States and Cuba for the first time in more than five decades.
The flights have been approved to land in nine Cuban cities, including Camagüey, Holguín and Santiago de Cuba.
There is a set number of flights that can operate between the two countries, and flight applications to Havana have yet to be approved. The Transportation Department said it plans to make final selections to flights in and out of Cuba’s capital this summer.
The two nations restored diplomatic relations last summer, which made it easier for U.S. citizens to visit Cuba.
President Barack Obama made an historic visit in March. The last U.S. president to visit Cuba was Calvin Coolidge in 1928.
U.S. travelers still need approval to travel to Cuba. The government has established 12 travel categories that allow Americans to visit the island nation, including family visits, humanitarian projects and public performances and religious and educational activities.
American Airlines plans to start offering flights to five Cuban cities out of Miami in September. It is still waiting for approval to operate 10 daily flights from Miami to Havana, as well as flights leaving out of Charlotte, Dallas, Chicago and Los Angeles to the capital city.
JetBlue announced Friday it plans to offer a daily flight out of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to three Cuban cities. Its customers can start booking flights this summer.