MIAMI – Add American Airlines to the list of carriers that want to take you to Cuba.
An airline executive said Tuesday that American already operates about 20 charter flights a week to Cuba and would like to add regular flights from Miami.
“We don’t have anything to announce today,” the airline’s president, Scott Kirby, said on a conference call with analysts and reporters, “but we will be anxious to start serving Cuba as soon as it’s legally allowed.”
Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and JetBlue Airways have expressed interest since President Barack Obama announced last month that the U.S. would establish diplomatic relations and expand trade and tourism with Cuba. Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly said last week that his airline is interested too, although he said Southwest has 50 potential destinations beyond the U.S. mainland, and Cuba “will just be one more.”
New U.S. government rules issued this month relaxed travel restrictions that have stood for 54 years since the communist revolution in Cuba. Licenses are no longer required, but trips are limited to 12 categories including visiting close relatives, humanitarian missions and educational tours. Tourism is not an approved reason to visit – yet.
JetBlue and Sun Country also offer charter flights to the island.
Also on Tuesday, American Express Co. said it will start doing business in Cuba after the Obama administration lifted a ban on U.S. banks and credit card companies operating on the island. The New York company did not say when people could use American Express cards in Cuba, where it currently has no terminals set up or merchant relationships.
MasterCard Inc. last week became the first major U.S. credit card company to say it would start handling U.S. card transactions in Cuba. Visa Inc. did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.