Thursday, December 17, 2009

AirTran and Delta begin 737 flights to Key West

Photos courtesy of flickr photographer Chris W.
For the first time in 20 years, large jet airliners return to Key West as AirTran and Delta begin 737-700 service today to the Conch Republic. AirTran will operate 4 weekly round-trips from Orlando and Delta will fly a daily round-trip from Atlanta. While ASA has been flying smaller regional jets into Key West, the city has been primarily served by small propeller aircraft during the last 2 decades. One of the main reasons airlines have been hestitant to fly full-size jets into Key West is because the airport's single runway is only 4801 feet long, an uncomfortably short distance that leaves little room for error. In fact, Key West has the shortest runway of any airport in North Amercica that handles aircraft as large as a 737.

Eastern Airlines was the last airline to fly large jets into Key West when they operated a single daily 727 flight between Miami and Key West for a few years during the late 1980s. Prior to that, Piedmont and its successor US Air flew Fokker F-28s during the mid to late 80s, Air Florida flew 737s to Key West from 1979 into the early 80s, and National Airlines operated 727s in the late 60s and early 70s.

Some other historic airlines that once flew to Key West include: PBA , Air Sunshine, American Air Taxi, Dolphin Airways, Chalk's, Aerosun, Airways International, North American, Red Carpet, Vintage Airways, Key West Airlines and Air Florida Commuter.

AirTran's Key West flights operate on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday.

The schedule:

Orlando to Key West
Flight 868 Departs 11:30a Arrives 12:40p

Key West to Orlando
Flight 833 Departs 1:30p Arrives 2:40p

Delta's Key West flight operates daily

Atlanta to Key West
Flight 1113 Departs 10:00am Arrives 12:00pm

Key West to Atlanta
Flight 1122 Departs 12:40pm Arrives 2:45pm

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