Southwest Airlines announced Thursday it would begin scheduled flights to Cuba on Nov. 13, following competitors to serve the Caribbean island after a 50 year hiatus from the U.S.
Southwest is promoting the new flights with $59 fares each way if bought two weeks in advance.
Flights from Fort Lauderdale to Varadero will begin Nov. 13. Southwest will also fly from Fort Lauderdale and Tampa to Havana starting Dec. 12. The airline hasn’t announced a start date yet to reach Santa Clara.
“Cuba will be the ninth country on our route map and Havana will mark Southwest’s 100th city, a significant and proud milestone,” CEO Gary Kelly said.
The scheduled flights are the first in more than 50 years since the Communist revolution, under an initiative from President Obama to restore relations with the country 90 miles from Florida. But charter flights had flown for decades.
The flights remain contentious in Congress, where lawmakers have filed legislation to block them until better security is confirmed at Cuban airports for travelers heading to the U.S. But the flights began in August under the administration's approval.
JetBlue Airways landed first in Santa Clara on Aug. 31. Others are joining suit, including Silver Airways on Sept. 1 with turboprop service and American Airlines, which flew first to Cienfuegos and Holguin on Sept. 8.