UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY
Served: January 10, 2020
By this Notice, the U.S. Department of Transportation (the Department) (1) suspends the authority granted to all public charter operators that authorizes public charter flights between any point in the United States and any point in Cuba, except José Martí International Airport (HAV) in Havana; and (2) establishes a limit on the number of authorized public charter flights between the United States and José Martí International Airport (HAV) in Havana.
The suspension of public charter flights to points other than Havana will be effective 60 days after the date of this Notice and will remain in effect until further notice of the Department. The procedures and effective date for the cap on public charter flights to Havana will be addressed by subsequent show-cause order.
The Department is taking this action at the request of the U.S. Department of State. By letter dated January 7, 2020, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo wrote to Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao, stating that:
To strengthen the impact of the Administration’s policy of applying economic pressure on the Cuban regime to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms for all in Cuba and to cease its unconscionable support for the illegitimate and totalitarian regime of former President Maduro in Venezuela, and in the foreign-policy interests of the United States, I respectfully request that the Department of Transportation suspend until further notice all public charter flights between the United States and all airports in Cuba except José Martí International Airport (HAV) in Havana. I further request that the Department of Transportation, in the foreign-policy interest of the United States, cap charter flights to José Martí International Airport at an appropriate level consistent with the policy objectives identified above.1
Accordingly, the Department finds that it is in the public interest to suspend the exemption authority granted to all public charter operators that permits them to organize and arrange public charters between any point in the United States and any of the nine international airports in Cuba other than Havana,2 effective March 10, 2020.3
The Department also finds that it is in the public interest to establish a cap on the number
of Havana round-trip public charter flights. We find, pursuant to the Department of State’s request, that an appropriate level for the cap would be a level corresponding to current levels of service, based on public charter prospectuses accepted for calendar year 2019. For calendar year 2019, the Department accepted public charter prospectuses with Havana proposals totaling approximately 3,600 round-trip flights. Accordingly, the Department will limit the number of authorized public charter flights at Havana to that level for the initial charter year. The Department intends to propose by show-cause order a regulatory framework and allocation procedures by which carriers may apply to conduct public charter flights between the United States and Havana.
The Department will serve this Notice by electronic mail on certificated U.S. carriers operating large aircraft; all foreign air carriers holding permits; all public charter operators with recent U.S.-Cuba operations; the U.S. Department of State; the Federal Aviation Administration (AFS-200); and the Ambassador of Cuba in Washington, DC.
DAVID E. SHORT
Deputy Assistant Secretary
Aviation and International Affairs
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