In a move that indicates a further relaxation of U.S. travel
restrictions on Cuba, Maine’s Bangor International Airport has been licensed to
service foreign aircraft on non-traffic transit stops en route to or from Cuba.
The decision, handed down by the Office of Foreign Assets
Control on Monday, makes Bangor the first U.S. airport to receive such
“The baseline of this is that whatever the Obama administration
can do that will further introduce and create a landscape for commercial
activity with Cuba, it is going to do that,” said John Kavulich, president of
the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, which supports increasing commercial
ties between the two nations. “If more airports apply to do what Bangor is
going to do, [the administration] will be looking for a reason to say yes.”
Under the licensing, passengers can’t disembark in Bangor on
their way to or from Cuba. But carriers that aren’t from the U.S. or Cuba can
stop at the airport for services, including fueling and de-icing.
Until now, carriers from Europe in need of such services had
to stop in Canada.
OFAC’s decision comes on the heels of the U.S.-Cuba aviation
agreement completed early this year. That deal has set the stage for the
renewal of regularly scheduled commercial flights between the two countries