Effective October 13, charter flights between the U.S. and Cuba are expected to be prohibited, except for public charters to and from Havana as well as for emergency medical purposes, search and rescue, and “other travel deemed to be in the interest of the United States,” according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Although published by the DOT as a notice of suspension, additional wording indicates the decision might not be final.
No reason was given for this action, nor was there any proposal published before the order asking for comments. However, interested parties do have until September 3 to file “objections.” The DOT said it will “afford full consideration to the matters or issues raised by the objections to our tentative decision.”
The DOT also warned operators about trying to do an end-run around the provisions. This notice “applies to charter flights operated nonstop, as well as those involving third-country intermediate stops,” the notice cautioned. “The DOT will not look favorably upon operations that seek to evade the requirements of this order...and reserves the right to pursue those involved in such operations through enforcement action.”