DHS, CBP Approve Additional U.S. Ports of Entry for Flights to and from Cuba
The Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, has approved ten additional airports to provide passenger air service between the U.S. and Cuba. CBP has determined that theairports listed below are suitable to accommodate flights traveling between the U.S. and Cuba and should be added to the authorized list that currently includes John F. Kennedy International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, and Miami International Airport. The additional airports are:
Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Georgia
Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Aiport, Maryland
Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Texas
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Florida
George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Texas
Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport
New Orleans Louis Armstrong International Airport, Louisiana
Oakland International Airport, California
Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Illinois
Pittsburgh International Airport, Pennsylvania
San Juan Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, Puerto Rico
Southwest Florida International Airport, Fort Myers, Florida
Tampa International Airport, Florida
On January 28, 2011, DHS published a final rule in the Federal Register entitled "Airports of Entry or Departure for Flights to and From Cuba." The final rule amended DHS regulations to allow additional U.S. airports that are able to process international flights to request approval of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to process authorized flights between the United States and Cuba.
Prior to the final rule, direct flights between the U.S. and Cuba were required to arrive at or depart from one of three U.S. airports: John F. Kennedy International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, or Miami International Airport.
Under the final rule, properly authorized flights to and from Cuba are able to arrive at or depart from any U.S. airport that CBP has approved. To be eligible, an airport must be an international airport, landing rights airport, or user fee airport and have adequate staffing, equipment, and facilities to process international traffic. In addition, the airport must have an Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) licensed carrier service provider that is prepared to provide flights between the airport and Cuba.
The director of the port authority governing the airport seeking approval must send a written request to:
Office of Field Operations
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Attn: Arthur A. E. Pitts, Sr.
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC, 20229
Upon determining that the airport is suitable to accommodate flights traveling between the U.S. and Cuba, CBP will notify the requestor that the airport has been approved and to initiate the process through which they can establish service.
The requirements to obtain clearance and permission from CBP to depart from or enter at the airport and to provide advance notice of arrival will still apply. Clearance and permission to depart from or enter at the airport must be obtained by contacting the CBP officer in charge at the authorized airport at which the aircraft departs or arrives. Advance notice of arrival must be provided either through the Federal Aviation Administration flight notification procedure or directly to the CBP officer in charge at the authorized airport of arrival.
All aircraft to which these amended regulations apply must be properly licensed or otherwise authorized to travel between the U.S. and Cuba. Several federal agencies administer the necessary authorizations, and it is the responsibility of the owner or person in command of the aircraft to ensure that the aircraft has the necessary authorization to travel.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.