UPDATE 1-U.S. aerospace sector sees big opportunities in Cuban thaw
(Adds comments from airlines)
WASHINGTON Dec 17 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's decision to restore U.S. diplomatic ties with Cuba could yield big opportunities for the U.S. aerospace sector, which builds parts and provides maintenance for commercial aircraft, a top industry official said Wednesday.
Marion Blakey, president and chief executive officer of the Aerospace Industries Association, welcomed the president's announcement and said it was likely to result in "a great deal of new commerce" for U.S. companies.
Several U.S. airlines that already operate charter flights to Cuba said they would work with the U.S. government to expand service as needed, in line with evolving policies and laws.
Resumption of direct commercial air traffic to and from Cuba would create new opportunities for companies that service and maintain aircraft, Blakey told the group's annual news conference, adding that such a move would depend on working out an "appropriate" agreement with Cuba.
"I have no idea about the details, but certainly in the long run, everyone wants to see that," she said.
Anthony Black, spokesman for Delta Air Lines, which already operates charter flights to Cuba, said his company looked forward to expanding its service to Cuba as more opportunities arose.
American Airlines, which operates about 20 charter flights to Cuba a week, said it would continue to be guided by the laws and policies of the U.S. government, but stopped short of saying the airline planned to add any new flights. (Reporting by Andrea Shalal in Washington and Jeffrey Dastin in New York; Editing by Andrew Hay)
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