First U.S.-Cuba flight since 1961 takes off from Fort Lauderdale

August 31, 2016 2:06 PM

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To a fanfare of Cuban music and a water canon salute, the first commercial flight to cross the Florida Straits to Cuba in decades took off Wednesday morning, ushering in a new era in the ever-warming relations between the U.S. and the island nation.

The sold-out trip to the central Cuban area of Santa Clara took off from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport just after 10 a.m. on JetBlue, the first airline to secure a commercial flight to Cuba. Flights on Silver Airways and American Airlines will follow in the coming weeks.

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