The United States Department of Transportation on Friday announced that it will suspend all flights from the U.S. to Cuba, aside from those scheduled to fly to Havana, in the latest crackdown on Cuban travel.
The ban will go into effect starting on Dec. 10 and will last “indefinitely,” according to a letter from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. The move was made to continue to prevent U.S. tourism to Cuba.
Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, and American Airlines have been flying to Cuban cities outside of Havana, including Santa Clara, Holguin, and Camaguey. All airlines have 45 days to cease operations to those cities.
Both American and JetBlue told the Associated Press in a statement on Friday that they plan to comply with the new law and update their schedules based on the new guidance. JetBlue has issued waivers for refunds for all the impacted passengers.
The move comes almost five months after the U.S. announced it would eliminate People-to-People travel, and almost all non-family travel to Cuba, in June, undoing travel opportunities that Americans began to gain after restrictions loosened in 2014.
Americans with Cuban family members can still fly to Cuba, but will have to do so through flights through Havana or through charter flights, which are still permitted under law. However, Americans cannot travel, even under the family travel banner, to government-owned hotels that are on the growing U.S. Department of Commerce restricted list, which can be accessed here.
The list includes Ernest Hemingway’s favorite bar in Havana, Floridita; and most of the stores, restaurants and hotels of Old Havana.