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Published on : Thursday, September 1, 2016
Marking a historic thawing of relations between the two countries JetBlue Flight 387 had 150 passengers on board, including US transport secretary Anthony Foxx, when it landed in Santa Clara.
Nine other U.S. airlines will soon follow with their own routes, which could balloon up to 110 flights per day from cities throughout the U.S. to Cuban cities.
To commemorate the occasion, the plane received a water cannon salute, which traditionally marks a special occasion for a ship or aircraft.
Since the US thawed relations with Cuba, embassies have been re-opened in Washington and Havana.
President Barack Obama visited the country and a US cruise ship sailed to Cuba in May.
JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said that, earlier people could fly to Cuba on propeller driven planes. So it just shows how in 55 years things have changed.
After landing in Santa Clara and receiving another ceremonial water canon shower from Cuban fire engines, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx was the first to disembark. He was greeted by an airport full of curious onlookers and airport workers holding American and Cuban flags.
Hayes presented Cuban officials with a model airplane, and a city official presented him with a painting of Santa Clara. They shared a toast to future flights with white wine instead of champagne and thanked each other for the months of work to re-establish the flights.
The terminal outside Gate F10 in Fort Lauderdale resembled more of a party than a regular flight. A salsa band played as passengers munched on Cuban pastries.