Navy Order Ends Florida-To-Gitmo Commercial Flights

The Florida-based company IBC Travel announced on Friday that it will cease commercial air passenger service to Guantánamo Bay after April 5, following an order from Navy Capt. John “JR” Nettleton, the Guantánamo Navy commander.

According to The Miami Herald, IBC said it would continue weekly cargo flights to the base, and will also offer $17,000 one-day charters on a case-by-case basis. A base spokesperson said that a review of federal regulations had led to the decision. 

“After a detailed review of Federal Regulations it has been brought to the attention of the installation commanding officer that allowing IBC Airways to operate out of NS Guantánamo Bay is a violation of regulation 32CFR766,” Kelly Wirfel told the Herald.

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From the Herald:

The small shuttles that carry about 20 passengers had been a vital air bridge to Guantánamo, especially since the U.S. Supreme Court gave attorneys access to the prisoners in August 2004. The flight also served as a gateway for journalists, entertainers, business executives and contractors who streamed to the base in the years following the establishment of the prison camps in January 2002.

Once IBC stops flying, according to base spokeswoman Wirfel, lawyers and journalists can ask the Defense Department’s Office of Military Commissions for a seat on its weekly flight from Andrews Air Force Base, near Washington, D.C. The government mounts the mostly wide-body charter flights for $90,000, usually departing Washington on Monday, according to a May 2012 war court filing. The schedule for return flights varies.

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