MIAMI — American Airlines joins JetBlue and Silver Airways as the first carriers to start regularly scheduled flights to Cuba. Today, the Dallas/Ft. Worth-based carrier has started its first service from Miami to Cienfuegos and Holguin.

A week ago, JetBlue began service to the island out of Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport with a flight to Santa Clara.

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Although American Airlines has served Cuba over 25 years by providing charter flights from several U.S. cities, these flights are the first served by the carrier under a regular schedule.

American’s first charter flight to Cuba departed from Miami International Airport to Jose Marti International Airport in Havana on April 5, 1991.

These are also the first regularly scheduled flights out of Miami since 1961, when a Pan American World Airways flight was the last airline to serve Cuba before the diplomatic break off between both countries.

“When I was a young man growing up in Miami Cuba was so close but so far away. Today, American Airlines is bridging that gap.” Fernand Fernandez, AA Vice President of global marketing commented to the Miami Herald.

Flight AA903 to Cienfuegos, a city on the southern coast of Cuba, had the distinction to be the first flight, followed by flight AA1041 to Holguin followed suit. Both flights were received by the customary water cannon salute at the departure from Miami and landing in Cuba, and pilots unfurled Cuban and American flags before takeoff and upon landing.

American Airlines Flight AA1482 to Holguin was served by this Boeing 737-800 (Flagship Liberty • N905AN • MSN 29507 • LN 231). Here it is seen saluted before leaving Miami. (Credits: Miami-Dade Aviation Department)

On September 9th, American Airlines will begin flying to Camaguey and Santa Clara. Two days later, flights will be available to Varadero. Service to Havana is expected later this year.

American will operate a total of 91 weekly flights to Cuba from its Miami hub, having the most flights to Cuba than any other airline.

According to Miami International Airport, 761,235 passengers traveled from Miami to Cuba in 2016, making it one of the airport’s busiest and fastest-growing international markets. The new Cuba service further strengthens a series of new routes served in and out of Miami. On September 1, the airport welcomed three new airlines, with two more to be welcomed by the end of the month.

“Despite other top markets like Brazil having downturns in travel this year, increases to Cuba and other markets are why Miami still has total growth of more than two percent so far this year,” said Greg Chin, ‎Communications Director, Aviation Department at Miami-Dade County.