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US: No Timing for Resuming Commercial Travel to Cuba

FILE - A Delta Airlines plane arrives at a gate at Ronald Reagan-Washington National airport, just outside Washington, D.C. (VOA/Diaa Bekheet)

There is no timeline for reestablishing U.S. commercial air travel to Cuba, the State Department said on Tuesday following media reports that Washington was working to begin scheduled flights between the two countries as soon as December.

"We remain in contact with the Cuban government regarding the establishment of scheduled air service, which U.S. airlines say they are eager to offer to authorized travelers," the State Department said in a statement.

"No decisions have been made yet, and we hope to continue the technical discussions in the near future," it added.

On Friday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry officially reopened the U.S. embassy in Havana, marking the restoration of diplomatic relations after more than five decades of hostilities.

He also announced the establishment of a U.S.-Cuban steering committee to discuss next steps toward normalizing relations, including the further easing of travel restrictions. A bill is pending in the U.S. Senate to remove the travel ban on Americans and a more ambitious measure to rescind the decades-old U.S. economic blockade.

"We have no timeline for reestablishing scheduled air service, but have commenced initial discussions with Cuban counterparts regarding an arrangement on this issue," the State Department added.