June 10, 2019

A new federal rule that took effect June 5 prohibits several forms of travel to Cuba, including business aircraft flights.

The rule, which the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security published in the Federal Register, is part of a Trump administration effort to restrict non-family travel to Cuba.

The rule essentially removes the prior export exception that allowed operators of U.S. registered aircraft to fly authorized travelers to Cuba. The rule does not affect commercial and charter aircraft and air ambulance operations carrying authorized travelers. However, at the same time, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has terminated the authorization for “people-to-people” educational travel to Cuba.

Anyone who violates the new rule could face a significant penalty, including a potential fine of almost $300,000

“I don’t expect the new rule to have a major impact on business aviation, but business flight departments should be aware of the restrictions in case their companies are considering doing business in Cuba,” said Jonathan Epstein, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney and a partner at law firm Holland & Knight.

Read the new Cuba rule.