J. Henderson, the assistant director of Marathon and Key West International airports explains:
All in all, there are about 75,000 operations — that includes take-offs or landings — per year. These include helicopters such as Trauma Star, Mosquito Control and lots of sightseeing helicopters. That makes it a pretty busy general aviation airport.
The runway of Marathon Airport is 5,008 feet long and 100 feet wide. There are 400-foot paved overruns at each end if someone needed extra space to slow down while landing during an emergency. Most aircraft that land here are smaller propeller engine planes, but we also have a lot of corporate jets, such as Gulfstreams and Global Express aircraft, which are privately owned or chartered. We also have some military aircraft here for training purposes.
Marathon has had several air carrier services from quite a few airlines over the years. The latest was by Cape Air from Fort Myers and it stopped in 2011. Delta from Atlanta was discontinued in 2007. Our plan is to resume the air carrier service dependent on demand and the airline industry.
There are a few stopovers by the planes returning from the Caribbean, South and Central America. Our Customs and Border Protection facilities aren’t as crowded and are, hence, customer-friendly.
Our Marathon Airport is still a couple of years from getting back to normal after Hurricane Irma, as we sustained some damage. Many people may not realize that this airport was a focal point for the rescue and recovery operations after Irma — an “air bridge” — and we had a large military presence for two weeks.
Monroe County operates the two publicly owned airports in the Keys — Marathon and Key West. There are several private airfields in the Keys: Sugarloaf, Summerland, Tavernier and Ocean Reef. The Naval Air Station is at Boca Chica and their magnificent air show featuring the Blue Angels is coming up at the end of March.
My name is Thomas Justin Henderson and I’m originally from Indianapolis, Indiana. I got my B.S. in Aviation Management from Auburn University in Alabama and Master’s of Business Administration from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. Before coming to the Keys, I worked at John Wayne Airport, also in California.
I am a licensed pilot. Living in Marathon has been a truly positive and rewarding opportunity for my wife and I, who is from Greece, because people here look after and take care of one another. Our son was born here, in Florida, just a few months ago.