US gives tentative OK to flights to Cuba from Newark, 9 other US cities

United Airlines this fall will begin offering nonstop flights from New Jersey's Newark Liberty International to Havana, Cuba.

United Airlines this fall will begin offering nonstop flights from New Jersey's Newark Liberty International to Havana, Cuba.

United Airlines this fall will begin offering nonstop flights from New Jersey's Newark Liberty International to Havana, Cuba. (7/7/16)

NEWARK - United Airlines this fall will begin offering nonstop flights from New Jersey's Newark Liberty International to Havana, Cuba.

The U.S. government has tentatively approved scheduled commercial airline service to Havana from 10 U.S. cities - a major step in President Barack Obama's effort to normalize relations with Cuba.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx says eight U.S. airlines will begin a total of 20 scheduled daily flights as early as this fall between the U.S. and the Cuban capital.

The U.S. cities are: Atlanta; Charlotte, North Carolina; Houston; Los Angeles; Newark, New Jersey; New York; and four in Florida - Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Tampa.

The airlines are Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, and United.

The decision won't be final until later this summer - so there's time for the public to comment.

New Jersey State Police spokesman Lt. Brian Polite says tourists should visit the organization's website so they can be alert for fugitives wanted by the FBI who are living in Cuba.

They include Joanne Chesimard. Chesimard was convicted in 1977 in the death of Trooper Werner Foerster during a gunfight after being stopped on the New Jersey Turnpike in 1973. She was sentenced to life in prison but escaped and made her way to Cuba, where Fidel Castro granted her asylum and she has been living under the name Assata Shakur.

Gov. Chris Christie last year sought to block Newark flights to Cuba until Chesimard is returned to the United States.

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