- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 22, 2015

The head of New York’s airport authority has sided with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in a brewing dispute with United Airlines over flights to Cuba.

On Thursday, one day after Mr. Christie had publicly demanded the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey reject the airline’s plan to fly between Havana and Newark, Chairman John Degnan asked United to reconsider.

The dispute centers around Joanne Chesimard, who was convicted of murder in the shooting death of a New Jersey state trooper in 1973. She escaped and turned up in Cuba, which granted her political asylum. Chesimard now lives openly in Havana as Assata Shakur.

In a letter Wednesday, Mr. Christie called flights between New Jersey’s principal airport and the communist country “unacceptable” and Mr. Degnan said Thursday that he agreed.

“As a former attorney general of New Jersey, who was appalled at the Cuban government’s provision of sanctuary to Joanne Chesimard, I shared his sentiments,” Mr. Degnan wrote in a letter to acting United CEO Brett Hart.

However, Mr. Degnan’s letter came after a Port Authority board meeting in New York on Thursday during which the board decided that U.S. Customs and Border Protection, not the Port Authority, gets the final say on whether the flights can go ahead.

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