Rubio: Flights from Cuba pose threat to U.S.

Senator Marco Rubio, AP file photo
Senator Marco Rubio, AP file photo

TAMPA, FL (WFLA) — Florida Senator Marco Rubio wants all commercial flights to and from Cuba stopped immediately. He believes the flights expose the United States to a serious security risk.

Rubio says there is an aviation agreement specifying that flights between the two countries will have air marshals on board. But, he says he learned from a TSA official this week that on most, if not all, flights there have been no air marshals on board.

Rubio says that there are flights 90 miles off of the U.S. coast that could easily be taken over by hijackers.

“Theoretically some terrorist could travel form any country in the world into Cuba and try to come in to the United States, commandeer an aircraft, and I don’t need to tell you what could happen next,” Rubio says, adding, “This is an incredibly dangerous situation.”

Rubio has filed a bill to stop all flights to Cuba until an adequate security plan is in place.

Eight airlines have been approved for commercial flights between the United States and Cuba: Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Spirit Airlines, United Airlines, American and Southwest. Jet Blue began flights in August, and American Airlines followed in early September.

Southwest has approval for flights between Tampa International Airport and Havana, but has not begun booking yet. The airline anticipates it will be offering the direct flight before the end of the year.

In July Tampa was one of 10 cities tentatively approved for flights to Havana.

Read more: U.S. DOT awards Tampa International Airport daily flight to Cuba

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