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April 28, 2016

Legislation looks to lift regulations on Cuba-bound flights

On Wednesday, Maine’s U.S. Reps. Bruce Poliquin and Chellie Pingree introduced legislation in Washington that would update regulations that have restricted European charter flights bound for Cuba from stopping at airports in the United States, with the goal of incentivizing business growth and creating jobs in Maine and other states along the East Coast.

Currently, charter flights from Europe land at airports on the East Coast to make “technical stops” — refuel, take on food and exchange crews — but flights bound from Cuba are currently restricted from stopping in the United States. Because of this restriction, many airline companies have consequently moved all of their flights to Canada so that they can transit through the same airport.

According to Poliquin’s office, these restrictions cause the Bangor International Airport to lose out on more than 200 flights a year.

The legislation proposed would allow Cuba-bound flights to make “technical stops” at American airports, while still preventing passengers from being able to depart from the United States or clear immigration.

"It just doesn't make sense to chase away business from airports like Bangor because of some bureaucratic, out-of-date regulations," said Pingree. "Thousands of tourists are passing over the United States on their way to Cuba every day, and if they have to stop somewhere, why not let it be Bangor?"

Read more

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