of Transportation Norman Mineta
Department of Transportation
September 13, 2001
10:35 A.M. EDT
Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta has ordered the national airspace
system re-opened to commercial aviation, effective at 11 a.m. Eastern time Thursday.
The Secretarys decision was made after a series of meetings throughout
the day and night Wednesday with White House and Cabinet officials, Federal
Aviation Administration Administrator Jane Garvey, aviation industry leaders,
as well as intelligence and law enforcement representatives.
The re-opening of our national airspace is good news for travelers, for
the airlines and for our economy, Secretary Mineta said. But I must
caution everyone that a system as diverse and complex as ours cannot be brought
back up instantly. We will re-open airports and resume flights on a case-by-case
basis, only after they implement our more stringent levels of security. This
phased approach will assure the highest levels of safety, which remains our
Anyone planning on flying should check with their airline regarding the
level of service and flight schedules, and be sure to allow plenty of time to
deal with our new security procedures. There will be some inconveniences, but
safety will be the first element of our system to be restored, the Secretary
On Wednesday, Secretary Mineta had approved a limited re-opening of the system,
allowing aircraft diverted during Tuesdays terrorist attacks to continue
to their destinations or be repositioned in anticipation of todays decision.
At the same time, he announced a series of heightened security
measures, including a ban on curbside luggage check-in and
off-airport passenger check-in. Before being allowed to re-open,
airports must clear their terminals of people and conduct thorough
searches. Once re-opened, airports will feature an increased
presence of law enforcement officers, restricted access beyond
the screening area and other restrictions.