American Airlines wins flights to Cuba – but not from Charlotte yet

American Airlines won the rights to five nonstop daily flights from the U.S. to Cuba, but the government hasn’t ruled on a Charlotte to Havana flight yet.

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded American, which is the biggest carrier by far at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, five slots from Miami to five other Cuban cities. The Transportation Department didn’t rule on American’s request to fly to Havana from five U.S. cities, including Charlotte.

“American stands ready to begin service to Havana at the earliest possible opportunity,” the airline said in a news release Friday.

American applied to start year-round daily service between Charlotte and Havana in March. The move followed the recent warming of relations between Cuba and the U.S., under which regularly scheduled passenger air service between the two countries was allowed for the first time in five decades.

In addition to American, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest, Sun Country Airlines and Silver Airways received permission to fly to various Cuban cities. None were awarded flights to Havana.

The Transportation Department said it will announce decisions on the Havana routes “later this summer.”

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo