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Airways Will Reopen At Noon

Thu Sep 13, 2001 12:02 am

The Washington Post is now reporting that air service will resume at noon, but not necessarily in Washington and New York.

From the Post:

The Federal Aviation Administration prepared to reopen the nation's airports Wednesday.

"We expect to reopen the airspace at noon" Eastern time, said FAA spokesman Les Dorr. "I don't know if that will include New York and Washington."

In a statement released 10:15 a.m. Wednesday, Department of Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta said "they are ready to perform any tasks necessary to restore our national transportation system to a safe, efficient status. The DOT is working closely with the White House and appropriate federal agencies to mount a coordinated, nationwide recovery effort."

However, Dorr said people should not expect all flights to resume normal travel, since many planes are at the wrong airports.

"I think it is fair to say there is not going to be a mass exodus of planes and passengers that have been on the ground because some of the airlines have airplanes that are literally in the wrong place to fly their schedules," Dorr said.

He declined to discuss increased security measures, but said, "Passengers should expect to have to devote more time to the check-in process."

When flights resume, passengers won't be able to check their bags at the curb, they will be subjected to random checks, they will see more uniformed security and they should arrive even earlier.

Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta said he is acting to augment airline security after Tuesday's terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, which began with the hijacking of four commercial airliners.

"There will be higher levels of surveillance, more stringent searches," Mineta said. "Travelers may experience some inconveniences, but we ask for your patience. We must do whatever it takes with safety as our highest priority.

Dorr advised passengers to call their airlines before going to the airport, to make sure flights are taking off on time. Many pilots did not finish their runs on Tuesday, choosing instead to land at the nearest airport after the FAA halted all plane traffic.

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