Historic US flight arrives in Cuba

The first US commercial passenger flight to Cuba in over fifty years landed Monday. But US airlines flying there will lose money in the short run.

SANTA CLARA (Reuters) - A historic flight on Monday (Aug 29) - the first US commercial flight to Cuba in over 50 years -  landed in the central Cuban city of Santa Clara.

JetBlue's A-320 carrying officials, reporters and regular travelers symbolized the Obama administration's efforts to improve relations and boost trade and travel with its former Cold War era foe. But Mr Obama has been unable to get Congress to lift the US trade embargo.

Locals like Mr Ariel Veitia say they look forward to an increase in tourism, but Americans are still prohibited from visiting as tourists. Only those visiting family or those traveling for educational, religious or business purposes can go there.

"That's a very favorable expectation for us because the tourists that come from the United States can learn how pretty these installations are and that has so many repercussions for the people of Villa Clara." said Mr Veitia.

US airlines rushing to start flights will probably lose money in the short run because of travel limitations, say consultants. At present, destinations do not include the capital city of Havana. When flights to Havana are added in future, they will be limited to 20 daily round trips.