The formerly closed nation of Cuba will become much closer to Tampa on Monday, Dec. 12. That’s when the city will become one of just 10 U.S. cities with commercial service to the island.
Southwest airlines is starting its commercial service from Tampa to Havana on Monday with a sold-out flight.
This will be the first commercial flight from Tampa to Cuba in more than 50 years.
Since 2011, Tampa International Airport has had chartered flights to the country, but these commercial flights will be cheaper and run every day, making it a more reliable service for people looking to go to Cuba.
The flights will depart daily at 6:15 a.m.
Emily Nipps, Communications Manager for Tampa International Airport, said Tampa is a natural fit for this kind of service, having the third largest number of Cuban-Americans.
“This just makes it so much easier for families to fly back and forth," Nipps said. "We know this is going to be a very, very popular service for them.”
Gary Kelly, CEO of Southwest, will be there Monday morning to see the historic flight off.
While tourism is still illegal, there are 12 categories of authorized travel to Cuba.
Flights from Tampa to Cuba can be booked on southwest.com.