Low-cost carrier Interjet has started offering twice-weekly direct flights between the northern Mexican industrial city of Monterrey and Havana in an effort to spur tourism, aviation officials said.

The new route will help expand international flights to other destinations, such as the United States, Central America and South America, Grupo Aeroportuario del Centro Norte, which manages the Monterrey airport, said in a statement.

The Monterrey-Havana flights will be offered on Thursdays and Sundays using A320s with the capacity to carry 150 passengers, the company, which manages 13 airports in nine Mexican states, said.

A total of 51,766 Mexicans visited the island in the January-August 2012 period, Cuban Embassy figures show.

Cuba welcomed 76,300 visitors from Mexico in 2011 and expects the new flights to boost these figures.

Interjet began operations in Mexico in December 2005 and offers service on 40 routes to 27 destinations. EFE