First flight from Key West to Cuba takes off

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Associated Press

Posted on December 30, 2013 at 2:34 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 30 at 4:02 PM

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) — The first commercial passenger flight from Key West to Cuba in more than 50 years has landed in Havana.

The nine-passenger flight departed Monday morning, more than two years after U.S. Customs and Border Protection gave Key West the green light to resume flights to and from the island country.

Charter operators have had difficulty getting all of the required approvals from U.S. and Cuban authorities.

Key West International Airport director Peter Horton says Customs and Border Protection signed off on the first flight Monday morning, shortly before the departure. He added that the flight was a test run, as there are no future commercial flights scheduled.

The flight took passengers embarking on a people-to-people exchange to meet with Cubans at botanical gardens, organic farms and cultural centers.

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