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American Airlines opens office in Havana

Associated Press logo Associated Press 2/02/2017 By Caroline Berdon

American Airlines has formally opened an office in Havana, and an executive says the company will move ahead with its plans for Cuba despite uncertainty over what President Donald Trump's administration will bring.

The inauguration came two months after American Airlines flew the first scheduled commercial flight from the US to Havana in more than 50 years. Several airlines had begun routes to other Cuban cities earlier and before that there were costly charter flights.

The US company said the flight and the office reflected the company's commitment to doing business on the island after President Barack Obama initiated detente with Cuba. Obama's successor has criticised that move, and before his inauguration tweeted that he might "terminate" detente between the US and Cuba.

"We cannot speculate about what (Trump's) next step will be, but I can assure you that we are moving our machine forward," said Galo Beltran, the Cuba manager for American Airlines. "You are a witness to the investment and how important Cuba is to American as a US entity doing business."

Beltran said the airline is scheduling 13 daily flights from Miami and Charlotte, North Carolina, to the Cuban cities of Havana, Camaguey, Cienfuegos, Holguin, Santa Clara and Varadero.

A half dozen airlines have received authorisation from the US government to fly to Cuba.

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