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Commercial flights to Cuba take off from some U.S. airports

By Helena DeMoura, CNN
updated 8:53 PM EST, Sun November 6, 2011
Delta Air Lines has partnered with the Miami-based Marazul travel agency to provide chartered flights to Cuba.
Delta Air Lines has partnered with the Miami-based Marazul travel agency to provide chartered flights to Cuba.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Delta Air Lines partners with Marazul travel agency to provide chartered flights to Cuba
  • Delta provides planes, Marazul sells tickets, Delta says
  • The first flight took off from Miami in October

(CNN) -- Another chartered flight is scheduled to leave the United States for Cuba Sunday as a result of recent U.S. government moves to ease restrictions on travel to the Communist nation.

In a partnership with Delta Air Lines, Marazul, a Miami-based travel agency that specializes in travel to Cuba, has restored direct flights between select U.S. airports and Havana, Cuba, a Delta spokeswoman said Sunday.

"We are excited to get back into the market in partnership with Marazul," Delta spokeswoman Gina Laughlin said, adding that some flights took place in October, departing from Miami.

Marazul announced on its website that it has restored its direct flight between New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport and Havana, scheduled to take off on Sunday. In December, Marazul will provide weekly flights from Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Marazul announced.

Round-trip tickets can only be purchased through Marazul travel, which has chartered a Boeing 737 with crews from Delta Air Lines for its Miami-Havana flight, the travel company said.

Laughlin said loosened government restrictions on travel to Cuba has allowed Delta to re-establish the charter service with Marazul.

According the Marazul's website, these flights are offered only to passengers who have been "duly authorized" by the U.S. government to travel to Cuba. This includes, but is not restricted to, travelers with close relatives in Cuba, official business travelers, professionals, students and other potential travelers authorized by the U.S Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

In September of 2009, OFAC announced it would ease existing restrictions on travel to Cuba, citing President Barack Obama's initiative announced the same year to "reach out to the Cuban people in support of their desire to freely determine their country."

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