The first commercial flight from the United States to Cuba in over half a century has just taken off, marking the latest event in the thawing of diplomatic relations between the two former foes.

The 72 minute short-haul flight from JetBlue Airways took off from Fort Lauderdale within the last hour and is due to land in Santa Clara, Cuba at 10:55 EST, according to air traffic control monitor, Flightradar.

It is the latest landmark in a historic normalisation of ties between the US and its former Cold War rival, after President Barack Obama made the first presidential visit in 80 years to Cuba in March.

US secretary of state John Kerry, described the flight as “another step forward” on Twitter, noting that it was the first commercial flight to Cuba since 1961.

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