LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — American Airlines plans to begin charter service from Los Angeles to Havana later this year.

American will partner with Cypress-based tour operator Cuba Travel Services to offer Saturday flights on Boeing 737s out of Los Angeles International Airport beginning Dec. 12, according to airline officials.

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“We are excited to expand our partnership with American to include flights from Los Angeles to Havana,” said Michael Zuccato, General Manager at Cuba Travel Services. “We will continue to deliver a high quality travel experience and opening up new West Coast access to Cuba will bring a convenient, affordable option to authorized travelers.”

The Fort Worth-based airline says such charters will be the first nonstop flights from the West Coast to Cuba since travel restrictions to the island nation were eased.

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However, there are still certain requirements for travel to Cuba that U.S. citizens must meet, such as visiting family. Trips that are strictly for tourism are not yet legal.

American has operated charters to Cuba since 1991 and now flies there about 20 times a week from Miami and Tampa, Florida.

The U.S. Embassy in Havana reopened last week amid improving relations between the United States and Cuba.

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