of Transportation Norman Mineta
Department of Transportation
September 12, 2001
5:20 P.M. EDT
Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta has announced the Federal Aviation
Administration will allow a limited reopening of the nations commercial
airspace system in order to allow flights that were diverted yesterday to continue
to their original destinations.
The Secretary also announced that the FAA is temporarily extending the ground
stop order imposed yesterday while additional security measures are being completed.
Safety is always of paramount importance, and in these extraordinary times
we intend to be vigilant, Mineta said. We remain committed to resuming
commercial flights as soon as possible.
As the President said last night, these despicable terrorist attacks have
shaken the foundation of our greatest buildings, but have not shaken the foundation
of this great nation, the Secretary said.
As America watches the efforts of our heroic emergency responders and
rescue personnel, we keep the victims and their families in our prayers,
he also said.
Mineta said the FAA would permit flights today only in special limited circumstances.
Flights diverted as a result of yesterdays order will be allowed to continue
to their original destination under vastly tightened security guidelines. Only
passengers on the original flights will be allowed to re-board, and only after
airports and airlines have implemented strict screening measures. Airlines will
also be allowed to reposition empty aircraft, he said.
Mineta said a variety of stepped-up security measures will be instituted at
the airports once they re-open. These measures include:
- A thorough search and security check of all airplanes and airports before
passengers are allowed to enter and board aircraft.
- We will discontinue curbside check-in at the airport. We would ask that all
passengers go to the ticket counters to check in.
- We will also discontinue off-airport check in. We can no longer
allow passengers to check in for their flights at hotels or other
venues. Passengers must check in at the airports.
- We must reserve boarding areas for passengers only. Only ticketed passengers
will be allowed to proceed past airport screeners to catch their flights.
- Vehicles near airport terminals will be monitored more closely.
I know all Americans want us to move as quickly and prudently
as possible to return our transportation system to normal, Mineta
said, and we will as soon as we can do so safely.