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FAA lifts air restrictions, beefs up security at airports

The Federal Aviation Administration lifted air restrictions this morning, however, flight restarts won’t be immediate, experts warn.

Thursday, September 13, 2001

The Federal Aviation Administration lifted air restrictions this morning, however, flight restarts won’t be immediate, experts warn.

"It’s going to take quite a bit of time for commercial air carriers to get back in the sky," Huntington Tri-State Airport director Larry Salyers said.

Grounding all flights nationwide – the action the FAA took immediately after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. – is like throwing all the pieces of a puzzle back on the table.

"But I’m sure the FAA and the airlines will do a good job (putting it back together)."

When full air service does return, passengers will face increased security – not only at Tri-State but also at every airport in the nation.

For example, according to transportation, airline and airport officials:

– Passengers must go to the ticket counter to check their baggage. There will no longer be curbside or off-airport check-ins. (Huntington did not offer curbside check-in before.)

– Passengers will have to be met at the security screening stations rather than at the airport gate. Only ticketed passengers will be allowed through the checkpoints.

That means those without tickets will have to remain in the main lobby, rather than in the gate waiting area at Tri-State, Salyers said.

– Passengers will no longer be able to bring any knives or cutting tools aboard planes.

Also, unattended vehicles or baggage will not be allowed in front of the airport, Salyers said.

Someone must stay inside the vehicle if another person goes inside, he added.

Salyers said his personal opinion is that the FAA will continue to leave airports and airlines at a level of heightened security.

"We will probably never return to the old levels as we knew them," he said, adding it’s a good idea because many were too used to those security measures.

Salyers said the airport continues to wait on information from the FAA, but even general aviation (private pilot) flights are grounded. The airport expected more information this morning.

And, those jet trails or planes people reported overhead on Wednesday?

"All the plans people have been calling about have been military."