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First Direct Flight From Cuba To Southwest Florida International Airport

Southwest Florida International Airport began nonstop flights to Cuba on Monday. Choice Aire is the first airline to offer this service for the airport. 

A few people waited for the first direct flight from Cuba to land. There was a complimentary spread of pork, rice and beans, fried plantains and salad with mojito dressing.

Robert Ball is executive director of the Lee County Port Authority that operates the airport. He said this inaugural flight fulfilled his dream of opening up services to the Caribbean. 

"This has just been on my bucket list of places that wewannahave air service," said Ball. 

But the first plane to land at the airport from Cuba had some unexpected passengers. Daniel Martin lives in both Cuba and Broward County, so he travels back and forth a lot.

Miami International Airport already offers direct flights to Cuba, and Martin booked a flight to Miami. But his weekend flight was canceled. So he was grateful he had this Fort Myers flight as a backup.

"If they wouldn't be in Cuba, that would be the worst nightmare for us because we were 22 hours waiting for a plane," said Martin. "They are our saviors today."

Choice Aire will fly between Southwest Florida and Cuba every Monday and Friday. 

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Since 2012, I’ve been a voice on public radio stations across Florida - in Miami, Fort Myers, and now Tampa.
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