Passengers from Philadelphia International Airport’s Flight 1456 on Saturday are welcomed to Key West International Airport with commemorative hats. This is the first time direct flights between Key West and Philadelphia have been offered. KRISTEN LIVENGOOD/Contributed

Key West International Airport (EYW) celebrated two new nonstop services through American Airlines from Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) on Feb. 16. The first arriving passengers received a warm welcome and commemorative hat from EYW staff and a water cannon salute provided by Key West International Airport’s Aircraft Rescue Firefighters. 

“Both planes were full of people who were thrilled to be in Key West,” said Richard Strickland, Monroe County’s Director of Airports. “We are very excited to have American Airlines provide nonstop service to each destination further connecting Key West directly to American Airlines network.”

Both routes will operate on Saturdays through Aug. 31, 2019. The newly added flights will be operated on an EMB-175 aircraft with seating for 76 passengers.

In addition to the Philadelphia and Chicago direct flights, Key West International Airport provides direct service to Charlotte, Newark, Washington, D.C., Dallas, Atlanta, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Tampa. The airport has plans for improvements pending budget approvals. 

During the 2018 calendar year, Key West International Airport saw a 14 percent growth in total passengers. January 2019 has already seen 19 percent passenger growth. 

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