By Melissa Chan
December 13, 2015

The first charter flight from California to Havana, Cuba, since the White House eased travel restrictions earlier this year took off from Los Angeles International Airport on Saturday.

The inaugural flight, operated by American Airlines, departed about 12:45 p.m. after a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by city and airport officials, the Los Angeles Times reported.

President Barack Obama last year announced he would begin normalizing relations with Cuba, allowing some Americans to visit the Caribbean island without advance approval.

The Los Angeles charter flights to Cuba are sold by Cuba Travel Services Inc. and will operate on Saturdays on Boeing 737s, the airline said during its August announcement.

The first flight “shows how we continue to expand our reach by offering new routes and services our customers want,” American Airlines Senior Vice President Art Torno said at the time.

“We stand ready to offer scheduled service as soon as the United States and Cuba allow commercial flights,” Torno added.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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