June 1980, Delta inaugurates non-stop service from Atlanta to MacDill AFB

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I was stationed at MacDill when this occurred and we all got a good laugh out of it. The next day, I talked to a security cop who had responded to the 727’s unexpected arrival as a security breach and a possible hijacking. When he went aboard the airliner, some of the passengers, seeing men with guns surrounding the aircraft, assumed they had been hijacked (to Cuba). On the local evening news, the reporter stated “the aircraft eventually departed MacDill and  flew non-stop to Tampa International.” That was a good dig – anyone watching knew Tampa Airport was only 8 miles from MacDill.

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