Key West-Cuba flight takes off

By Gay Nagle Myers
For the first time since 1960, a commercial passenger airplane flew from Key West to Havana on Dec 30.

The flight on the nine-passenger Cessna Conquest II aircraft was a test run. "Whether this is going to be a regular service has not yet been determined," said Key West airport director Peter Horton.

Federal officials gave Key West the green light to fly to Cuba in October 2011, but it took more than two years for charter operators to obtain the required approvals from U.S. and Cuban authorities.

Capacity is an issue because Key West currently is approved to process only 10 passengers and crew from Cuba at a time.

Five of the nine passengers on the inaugural flight were participants in a people-to-people exchange program organized by the Florida Keys Tropical Research Ecological Exchange Institute.
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