CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- History will be made Wednesday morning at Charlotte Douglas International Airport when American Airlines flight 801 departs the Queen City for Havana, Cuba.
The Airbus 319 will take off at 8:50am and arrive in Havana at 11:18am.
NBC Charlotte’s Mark Boyle and Mike Hanson will be on the inaugural flight and be speaking with Charlotte residents who are traveling to Cuba for the first time.
U.S. carriers started just this week flying to Havana from the mainland after getting government approval.
President Obama worked to reestablish diplomatic relations with Raul Castro which helped ease some travel restrictions.
There are still several categories travelers must fall into in order to fly to Cuba. They include:
• Family visits
• Official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments and certain intergovernmental organizations
• Journalistic activities
• Professional research or professional meetings
• Educational activities and people-to-people exchanges
• Religious activities
• Public performance, clinics, workshops, athletic or other competitions and exhibitions
• Support for the Cuban people
• Humanitarian projects
• Activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes
• Exportation, importation, or transmission of information or informational materials
• Travel related to certain authorized export transactions
The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded American the authority to operate five daily flights to José Martí International Airport (HAV) in Havana – four from Miami International Airport (MIA) and one from Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT).
“American has a rich history in the Cuban market and we are excited to continue to be the leader in providing air service between the United States and Cuba,” said Andrew Nocella, American’s chief marketing officer.
“We thank Secretary Foxx and the Department of Transportation for the opportunity to serve Havana and for their leadership in restoring scheduled service between the U.S. and Cuba after more than 50 years.”
American’s Havana flights will go on sale later this month after DOT issues its final decision, with service expected to begin in November.
The MIA-HAV flights will be operated with Boeing 737-800 aircraft and the CLT-HAV flight will be operated with an Airbus A319 aircraft. With the addition of Havana, American will operate a total of 13 daily flights to six destinations in Cuba.
American launched five other Cuban cities in September.