Source: Agencies01 Sep 2016 10:57:24

Santa Clara, September 1: In an attempt to improve ties with Cuba, United States landed a commercial passenger flight in the neighbour country on Wednesday, opening another chapter to develop trade relations with the former Cold war enemy.

A JetBlue Airways Corp passenger jet landed in the Cuban city of Santa Clara, after arriving from Fort Lauderdale of Florida. The route is the first a plethora of new flights by various U.S. airlines to destinations on the Communist-ruled island.

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The 150-seater plane consisted of various US officials including U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes and about a dozen journalists. Also some regular passengers were aboard the flight, half of which consisted of Cuban passengers. The flight landed at Santa Clara, a central Cuban city popular for its leader Ernesto "Che" Guevara, with a population of about 2 Lakh people.

"I think that speaks to the interest on the part of the American people, and it also speaks to the level of commercial interest in the U.S. that exists."Foxx said before the plane took off. 

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called the event another step forward. He noted in a twitter massage that the flight took place just over a year after the flag was raised at the reopened U.S. embassy in Havana.

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The opening of close ties stated with the US president Obama’s historical visit to the Caribbean island in March this year, which led to series of measures to increase commercial ties. However, the Obama was unable to persuade congress to lift the long running embargo.

The United States still prohibits its citizens from visiting Cuba as tourists, although there have long been exceptions to the ban, ranging from visiting family to business, cultural, religious and educational travel. The Obama administration has further eased the restrictions.

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Cuba and the United States agreed to allow up to 90 daily round-trip flights between the two nations, the Department of Transportation said. Six airlines have been approved for flights to nine Cuban cities other than Havana, but not all of them have announced their schedules.