TAMPA, Fla. -- Los Angeles-headquartered Cuba Travel Services, which offers charter flights for Cuban-Americans and licensed travelers who qualify under U.S. Treasury Dept. regulations. recently opened an office here.

The firm has offered charter flights to Cuba from Los Angeles, Miami and New York since 2000; the new Tampa office now offers air charters from Tampa to Miami, with connections to Havana.

Michael Zuccato, general manager, said the daily Tampa-Miami flight uses American Eagle 66-passenger ATR-72 aircraft.

"We hope the Bush administration will eventually allow nonstop flights from Tampa to Cuba," Zuccato said.

Any potential opening of direct flights from Tampa "should not be construed as an opening in U.S.-Cuba travel," Zuccato said. "These flights expand on the humanitarian need for Cuban-Americans, many of whom are senior citizens who wish to visit their families."

Cuba Travel Services also provides travel to Cuba to qualified groups authorized by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets and Control.

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