updated 10/12/2011 5:59:41 PM ET 2011-10-12T21:59:41

Officials at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport say the airport has received approval for direct flight service to Cuba.

Travel to Cuba will still be highly restricted. Passengers must have close relatives in Cuba or must be involved in the medical or agricultural business sectors. The Cuban government also will be allowing travel for education and religious activities.

The U.S. government gave approval for the flights in March. The latest action involves Cuba allowing non-stop flights from New Orleans to land.

But the service is far from being started. Airport spokeswoman Michelle Wilcut said Tuesday that the airport will need either an airline or an approved charter operator to make the flights.

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