American Airlines says it plans to begin charter service from Los Angeles to Havana later this year, which American says will be the first nonstop flights from the West Coast to Cuba since travel restrictions to the island nation were eased.

American said Tuesday that the flights from Los Angeles International Airport will run on Saturdays starting Dec. 12. They will be sold by Cuba Travel Services.

Americans still must meet certain requirements for travel to Cuba, 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. Senior Vice President Art Torno said the airline is ready to offer scheduled flights as soon as that is allowed.

Interest in travel to Cuba seems to have increased as the Obama administration has moved to restore diplomatic relations. In July, JetBlue Airways began weekly charters between New York and Havana.

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Photo Credit: The hotel Capri is illuminated at dawn in Havana, Cuba, Friday, Feb. 14, 2014. Havana's hedonistic mob-and-movie-star days came to an end with Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution, and the hotel drifted into a long, slow decline. But now the Capri is back in business after being closed more than a decade ago. Franklin Reyes / AP Photo