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by Matt Alderton | August 20, 2015
American Airlines is the latest U.S. airline to cash in on new opportunities in Cuba: This week it announced a partnership with Cuba Travel Services, a destination management company specializing in travel to Cuba. Together, the companies will operate the first charter flights between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Jose Marti International Airport (HAV) in Havana, providing travelers the only nonstop service connecting the West Coast to Cuba since the Obama Administration relaxed travel restrictions to Cuba earlier this year.

"American is the premier carrier in Los Angeles and throughout the Caribbean, and this new charter flight shows how we continue to expand our reach by offering new routes and services our customers want," said Art Torno, American's senior vice president, International and Cargo. "We stand ready to offer scheduled service as soon as the United States and Cuba allow commercial flights."

American's new charter service between Los Angeles and Havana will be sold by Cuba Travel Services and will operate on Saturdays beginning Dec.12. In addition, American will operate a Saturday flight between Miami International Airport and Havana, also sold by Cuba Travel Services.

"We are excited to expand our partnership with American to include flights from Los Angeles to Havana," said Michael Zuccato, general manager of Cuba Travel Services. "We will continue to deliver a high-quality travel experience and opening up new West Coast access to Cuba will bring a convenient, affordable option to authorized travelers."

Although it's been illegal for Americans to travel to Cuba, American Airlines has been operating charter flights to the country since 1991, serving primarily Cuban expatriots living in the United States. Its new service opens the flights for the first time to American citizens.