Published: Mar 08, 2011 9:03 PM EST
Updated: Mar 08, 2011 6:03 PM EST

WASHINGTON- Eight new airports have been given permission to schedule charter flights to and from Cuba.

Customs and Border Protection officials say charter flights to Cuba can now be scheduled from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and international airports in Baltimore, Dallas/Fort Worth, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Tampa, Atlanta and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Previously, flights were only permitted from Los Angeles, Miami and New York.

Access to flights to the communist island nation will still be limited to people who meet certain travel requirements, including people from Cuba and those traveling for educational purposes or with religious groups.

The decision to allow eight new airports to schedule flights to Cuba is part of a broad effort to reach out to the Cuban people announced by President Barack Obama earlier this year.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)