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CELEBRITY SEAPLANE AIRLINE FOR SALE

The historic airline that used to ferry Al Capone and Howard Hughes from Miami to the Florida Keys in seaplanes is up for sale. Asking price: $7 million.

"It's a very, very sexy property to own, and it can be profitable," said Craig Robins, chairman of Pan Am Air Bridge. "That's a potent combination."

Formerly known as Chalk's, Pan Am Air Bridge has a handful of 17-passenger Grumman Mallard planes. Since 1919, the airline has been flying from the Port of Miami in Biscayne Bay to the Keys and the Bahamas.

Capone and Hughes once were frequent fliers.

Robins bought the airline for $5 million in January 1996 with two investors.

The airline dropped flights to Key West to focus on serving the Bahamas. Revenues have increased 42 percent in the past 18 months, he said.

Using planes that take off and land on the water is the major appeal, said Stuart Klaskin, an airline industry consultant.

"There are a number of markets they could exploit, not just in Florida, but also parts of the Northeast," Klaskin said.

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