Passengers step down from the first commercial flight from U.S., at the Abel Santamaria International Airport in the central Cuban city of Santa Clara, Aug. 31, 2016. The first regular direct commercial flight from the United States arrived in the central Cuban city of Santa Clara on Wednesday morning, marking an important new step in thawing ties between the former Cold War foes. (Xinhua/Liu Bin)
HAVANA, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- Visiting U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx met Wednesday with his Cuban counterpart Adel Yzquierdo and Cuban Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodriguez.
Foxx was in Cuba to mark the restart of scheduled commercial flights between the two countries.
"The meeting (with Rodriguez) took place just hours after the arrival of the official, who was among 150 passengers aboard U.S. airline JetBlue's Airbus A320, which inaugurated regular flights between the two countries, after more than half a century," the Cuban News Agency (ACN) said.
Rodriguez and Foxx discussed issues of common interest, and agreed resuming commercial flights marked a positive step in the process of improving bilateral ties, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
However, U.S. laws barring its citizens from traveling to Cuba for tourism, as well as the existing U.S. trade embargo, will dampen the effects of resuming the flights, Cuba's top diplomat said.
Foxx later met with Cuban Transportation Minister Adel Yzquierdo, and the two discussed the possibility of expanding cooperation in the area of transport, particularly in civil aviation, the ministry said.
Foxx was the first passenger to disembark after Wednesday's historic flight, which took off from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, landed in the central Cuban city of Santa Clara just before 11 a.m. local time, and he immediately headed to Havana.
JetBlue will be covering that route with three weekly flights until the end of October, and then increase frequency to daily flights.
Foxx was previously in Cuba in February, when he signed an agreement with Cuba to reestablish commercial air links.
Commercial flights were suspended in 1961 following one of the more serious incidents in U.S.-Cuban history, the U.S.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion, which was thwarted by Cuban troops.