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SLUG: 2-280484 US-AVIATION REOPENED (L-UPDATE)
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=09/13/01

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE=U-S AVIATION REOPENED (L)

NUMBER=2-280484

BYLINE=DAVID McALARY

DATELINE=WASHINGTON

CONTENT=

INTERNET=

VOICED AT:

INTRO: The U-S government has re-opened the country's civil aviation system with increased security following its shutdown because of the terrorist airliners attacks in New York and Washington. But V-O-A's David McAlary reports that flights to New York airports were soon halted because of unspecified activity by federal agents.

TEXT: U-S Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta says the reopening of national airspace to commercial and private flights is good news for the economy.

But hours later after restoring air commerce, the department's aviation branch, the Federal Aviation Administration, suspended flights to New York City airports because of what it described only as activity by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or F-B-I.

The F-B-I would add no details, but it is one of the agencies probing the airline terrorism that toppled New York's World Trade Center.

In reopening U-S civil aviation, Secretary Mineta warned it would not return to normal instantly. He said airports will resume business and flights scheduled on a case-by-case basis only after they are searched and other security precautions are met.

/// MINETA ACT 1 ///

We experienced an unprecedented assault on our commercial aviation system. In times such as these, we will use all available resources to ensure the safety of our travelers. From this day forward, we are operating with tightened security.

/// END ACT ///

The new rules eliminate check-ins outside the terminal, reserve boarding areas only for ticketed passengers, and require security sweeps of airliners before boarding is allowed.

Secretary Mineta says the Transportation Department will deploy uniformed federal officers from the Treasury and Justice Departments to airports nationwide. They will include customs, immigration, and border patrol agents.

/// MINETA ACT 2 ///

The added presence of these officers will augment our existing heightened security procedures, serving as a visible reminder of our strong commitment to protect the safety of the American people and the traveling public.

/// END ACT ///

In addition, Mr. Mineta has asked defense officials to provide elite U-S army anti-terrorist troops known as Delta forces to supplement the federal agents and possibly assist the corps of air marshals, armed officials who board selected aircraft.

His department is reviewing every security procedure in the entire civil aviation system. For the longer term, Mr. Mineta is considering whether to federalize the airport employees who screen passengers and carry-on baggage.

/// MINETA ACT 3 ///

We will not allow this enemy to win the war by restricting our freedom of mobility.

/// END ACT ///

A Transportation Department spokeswoman says the tightened security measures are sure to affect flight schedules. Secretary Mineta urged passengers to be patient with them and to allow extra time at the airport before boarding flights. (SIGNED)

NEB/DEM/PT



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