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Anne Arundel County Delegation Returns From Inaugural BWI-Cuba Flight

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- A three-hour, non-stop flight from Cuba ended at BWI-Thurgood Marshall Airport for a team of Anne Arundel County delegates. The group traveled to the Caribbean nation this weekend to begin building new economic opportunities in Cuba.

Gigi Barnett has more on their historic trip.

Closed off for nearly six decades and the relationship between Cuba and the US is warming. The doors to Cuba are slightly open---and this team of Anne Arundel County leaders say it's time to start creating economic, educational and social connections with the Caribbean nation.

"First impressions are everything when it comes to Cuba," said Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh.

County Executive Steve Schuh is just back from a three-day exploratory trip to Havana this weekend; he says it's the land time forgot.

"You notice all the cars," he said. "All the 1950 Chevys---they're all there."

Schuh says Cuba won't stay that way for long.

"We confirmed what I think are very substantial opportunities," he said.

But some hurdles still exist---especially in business.

"It is a communist country. There's virtually no private ownership of any business assets so businesses that want to do business there have to go into partnership with the government," he said.

Another plus in the relationship between Havana and Anne Arundel County is BWI-Thurgood Marshall Airport. Chartered flights from the airport to the island just started last month.

"We have a transportation conduit and a communications conduit already opening up so these are the beginnings," said Bob Hannon, Anne Arundel County Economic Development Corporation.

Schuh says one of the more promising opportunities he has arranged is a sporting event. The county's all-star baseball players could soon visit Havana to play a game between players there.

BWI is just one of 19 facilities in the US that has approval to offer flights to Cuba.

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