Minnesota lawmakers push for Sun Country to provide direct flights to Cuba

Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, along with Representatives Collin Peterson, Betty McCollum, Rick Nolan, Erik Paulsen, and Tom Emmer, urged the U.S. Department of Transportation on Tuesday to consider Minnesota-based Sun Country Airlines for direct flights to Cuba.

In an effort to normalize relations, the U.S. and Cuba recently signed a civil aviation agreement that includes regular flights between the two. The settlement gives U.S. airlines access to 110 daily flights to Cuba, but only 20 will be allowed to go to the capital of Havana.

At this time, Sun Country is the only airline bidding for direct flights between Minnesota and Cuba.

“It is our hope that as you decide which airlines will operate the new daily flights to Cuba and, particularly, the 20 new flights to Havana, you will consider small American businesses like Sun Country Airlines,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx.

Last month, Sen. Klobuchar and Rep. Emmer joined Pres. Obama on his historic visit to Cuba. Sun County’s President and CEO Zarir Erani said they’re “proud of the vision and support” shown by the Minnesota lawmakers to stabilize relations.

“We welcome and appreciate their interest in our Cuba service application, and look forward to opportunities to connect the people of Minnesota with the Cuban people,” Erani said.