Regular air service between Key West and Havana, Cuba, quietly resumed on Friday after a more-than-half-century hiatus.Miami-based Mambi International Group is partnered with flight operators Air Marbrisa and Air Key West. Mambi spokesman Isaac Valdes told the Keynoter that following a first flight on Feb. 28, the next flight on March 7 is “already sold out.”
Beginning March 17, Mambi will offer the 30-minute hop to Jose Marti International Airport on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, departing Key West International Airport at 2:30 p.m. and returning at 4:15 p.m. The Monday and Wednesday flights cost $479 roundtrip, with the Friday route going for $525, Valdes said. The process of designating Key West International Airport as an international point of entry began in 2009 with a request to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Following that was a three-phase, two-year, $2.25 million project to have the airport reclassified as a federal inspection station, instead of the current label of a general aviation facility. Monroe County Airports Director Peter Horton said the feds signed off on the upgrades in October 2011. The last time planes regularly flew between Key West International Airport and Jose Marti in Havana, just 90 miles from the Southernmost City, was in 1962.
By SEAN KINNEY