Tampa airport throws Cuba party but means business at landing flights

People fill out a petition between the landside E and F shuttle stops at Tampa International Airport. The airport is trying to have people sign petitions during their "Cuba Week" events urging federal transportation officials to approve flights from Tampa to Cuba. JAY CONNER/STAFF

Tampa International Airport has mounted what officials call a “full court press” to lobby the U.S. Department of Transportation for some of the limited commercial flights to Havana expected to begin later this year.

Whether or not it pays off, the campaign is unmatched by those Florida airports competing for the flights — and by many airports outside the state, as well.

Beginning Monday and running through the end of this week, Cuban music is playing throughout Tampa International’s main terminal between airsides E and F. Entertainers also are performing dances from the islands nation.

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