CBP Outlines Process for Airports to Host Cuba Flights

On Jan. 28, U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued its final rule outlining the process and requirements for U.S. airports seeking to serve as ports of entry and departure for licensed charters between the United States and Cuba.  The final rule reflects President Obama’s January 14 announcement easing some restrictions on travel and remittances to Cuba. Previously charters have only been allowed to operate at John F. Kennedy International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, and Miami International Airport.

The final rule states that in order to be eligible to request approval from CBP to host licensed charter flights to and from Cuba, an airport must:

  • Be an international airport, landing rights airport or user fee airport.
  • Have up-to-date staffing, equipment and facilities to process international traffic. 
  • Have a licensed carrier service provider which is prepared to provide flights between that airport and Cuba.  The carrier service provider must be licensed by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. 
  • Have the director of the port authority governing the airport seek approval via written request to the Assistant Commissioner, Office of Field Operations, CBP.

Once CBP decides the airport is suitable, it will notify the requestor and it may immediately accept such aircraft