Eight US airlines have won the green light to start scheduled flights to Cuba from the autumn.

The approvals were revealed as a JetBlue Airways flight from Fort Lauderdale to Santa Clara became the first service to the island from the US in more than 50 years.

Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines and United Airlines have been selected to serve Cuba. 

The flights will run to Havana from Atlanta, Charlotte, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York City, Orlando and Tampa.

Earlier this summer, The DoT announced the approval of six US passenger airlines and one all-cargo airline to serve cities in Cuba other than Havana. The additional carriers are expected to begin flights to those cities shortly.

The DoT said its decision allocates non-stop Havana services from areas in the US with substantial Cuban-American populations, as well as from several aviation hub cities.

Delta, which stopped serving Cuba with regular flights from New Orleans in 1961, plans to resume flights to Havana from Atlanta, Miami and New York JFK from December 1, with tickets due to go on sale on September 10.

US transport secretary Anthony Foxx, who was on the JetBlue flight, said: “Today’s actions are the result of months of work by airlines, cities, the US government, and many others toward delivering on president Obama’s promise to re-engage with Cuba.

“Transportation has a unique role in this historic initiative and we look forward to the benefits these new services will provide to those eligible for Cuba travel.”