LOS ANGELES (KABC) --Amid a thaw in governmental relations between the United States and Cuba, nonstop commercial flights from Los Angeles International Airport to Havana were scheduled to begin Thursday.
A 50-person trade delegation and 100 other travelers were set to depart on Alaska Flight 286 shortly before 9 a.m., the airline said. The delegation is comprised of government officials, business executives and tourism personnel.
Many of the civilian passengers are returning to Cuba for the first time in decades.
Among those expected at a pre-flight ceremony were Joe Sprague, Alaska Airlines' senior vice president of external relations, L.A. World Airports CEO Deborah Flint, and Ana Mari Cauce, president of the University of Washington. Cauce is the first Cuban-born leader of a major American academic institution.
Flights from Los Angeles to Cuba may serve about 190,000 travelers per year, according to airline estimates.
City News Service contributed to this report.