The Obama administration on Friday authorized six American air carriers to begin direct flights to Cuba as soon as this fall, paving the way for the resumption of scheduled air travel between the United States and Cuba for the first time in more than 50 years.

The Department of Transportation said it had approved applications from American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Silver Airways, Southwest Airlines and Sun Country Airlines to begin flying to Cuba as early as this fall from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis/St. Paul.

The action was the latest piece of President Obama’s push to normalize relations between Washington and Havana after more than a half-century of hostility. In place of American efforts to isolate Cuba, the new policy encourages Americans to travel to the island nation, 90 miles south of Florida.

The service approved on Friday will fly to nine Cuban cities, including Cayo Largo, Cienfuegos, Matanzas, and Santiago de Cuba. The Transportation Department said it would announce routes to the Cuban capital, Havana, later this year.