UNITED STATES AND CUBA TO RESUME REGULAR COMMERCIAL FLIGHTS
(P1) The US and Cuba have reached an understanding on RESUMING regular commercial flights between the two countries.
(P2) Unnamed officials in Cuba and the US said an announcement was IMMINENT.
(P3) It is unclear when the flights would start because NEGOTIATIONS between the Cuban government and the US airlines could take months.
(P4) The move is a significant step nearly a year after the former enemies began restoring DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS.
(P5) The US reopened its EMBASSY in Havana in August after a 54-year absence.
(P6) A State department spokesperson said the two countries “are making progress but still negotiating” on resuming flights.
(P7) The understanding is a key development as Cuba and the US continue to negotiate over a number of issues which could ultimately see the US TRADE EMBARGO lifted.
(P8) The news comes as travel between the US and Cuba SURGED by an estimated 50% this year.
(P9) Thousands of Americans are already visiting the island and hotels are booked for months.
(P10) But those travelling have to do so using CHARTER FLIGHTS or by way of third countries.
(P11) A formal agreement could mean more than a dozen flights arriving into Cuba from the US a day, officials said.
(P12) In some regards, the move to restore commercial flights is one of the most significant steps of the past 12 months in that it will increase the number of American visitors to Cuba.
(P13) With tourism increasingly becoming the main economic motor for the communist-run island, it comes as little surprise that the Cuban government was as KEEN ON this particular measure as the U.S. government.
If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.
- Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
- Do you know why the United States and Cuba became enemies IN THE FIRST PLACE?
- Cuba would enjoy great economic benefits from American tourist dollars; it is already popular with Canadians and Mexicans. Does your country’s economy depend much on tourism?
- Cuba is a large island. Have you ever taken a vacation on an island?
- Florida and Cuba are only 90 miles apart. What countries are closest to your country? Have you ever visited them?
EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:
What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.
- Diplomatic relations
- Trade embargo
- Charter flight
- Keen on
- In the first place