TAMPA - "Destination Cuba" will soon be an option for people traveling out of Tampa International Airport. Wednesday, the Cuban Government authorized flights from the Tampa Bay area to Havana, which could start as early as September. ABC Charters will provide the non-stop service.
Anthony Prieto's Father always promised to take him to Cuba, but never got the chance. Prieto says, "My mother was born in Cuba and my father's father was born in Cuba, and they came over at the turn of the 20th century as kids."
Tampa International CEO Joseph Lopano said, "We have a community that has really deep and rich ties with Cuba, a very large Cuban-American community. It will be so much more convenient now for family members to travel right out of Tampa to go to Cuba instead of having to drive to Miami."
According to U.S. Census statistics, Florida has the largest Cuban-American population in the country. Nearly 140,000 Cubans live within 90 minutes of Tampa International.
Prieto says, "As an attorney here in Tampa, the majority of my clients here are Spanish so I'm sure they're delighted about that to be able to go back to Cuba and visit their relatives."
Right now, Tampa International has flights to 68 different places, eight currently overseas. Airport officials say there are more to come. Lopano says, "We just returned from Frankfurt. We had a mission to meet with airlines. We can also support service to Mexico, to the Caribbean and to Central America."
Airport officials say flights to Cuba could cost you anywhere from $399 to $459, depending on the day of the week. That's similar to what you would pay to fly out of Miami.
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Plenty of sunshine with high humidity, but low chances for an afternoon shower or storm inland.