Lawmakers Press Transportation Secretary on Security of Cuba Flights

Friday, July 15, 2016
Click here to read the full letter from current and former Transportation Security Subcommittee Chairs, U.S. Reps. John Katko (R-NY) and Richard Hudson (R-NC).

From WBTV:

Hudson pens letter to USDOT over Cuba travel concerns

Representative Richard Hudson (R-08) is one of two congressmen to write US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx over security concerns surrounding air travel between the United States and Cuba.

Hudson has been vocal about his questions about security at Cuban airports since the country failed to issue visas to him and other congressman who planned to travel to Cuba to study the issue.

Earlier this week, Hudson introduced a bill that would halt commercial air travel to Cuba until a study has been completed regarding security measures and equipment at Cuba’s airports.

Commercial air travel between the United States and Cuba is part of an effort undertaken by the Obama Administration to resume normal relations between the two nations. American Airlines announced last week plans for a scheduled non-stop flight between Charlotte-Douglas International Airport and Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport.

A release from American announcing the new scheduled service noted the airline has operated chartered service between the two countries for a quarter century.

But in his letter, also signed by Rep. John Katko, Chairman of the House Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Subcommittee, Hudson takes issue with the lack of security measures in place at Cuban airports designed to protect passengers and airplanes flying to the United States.

We have grave concerns about the risk to America’s security if the protocols and infrastructure at these airports in Cuba cannot be adequately reviewed.  As it has been noted by the House Homeland Transportation Security Subcommittee, we still cannot verify if Cuba has the adequate body scanners and explosive detection systems in place,” the letter reads. “We additionally are unable to determine whether they have the technology to screen for fraudulent passports and identification, whether or how Cuban aviation workers are screened, and if United States Federal Air Marshals will be allowed to fly missions to Cuba on commercial flights. These questions must be answered in order to provide certainty to the American public that their security will not be jeopardized by these new flights.”

The letter also notes Cuba’s place on a list of state sponsors of terrorism until about a year ago.