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September 19, 2001 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-09-19

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8 -The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 19, 2001 NATION/ORLD
Pressure to reopen Reagan
National Airport mounts

The Washington Post
WASHINGTON - The head of the Federal
Aviation Administration and the leader of US
Airways yesterday discussed reopening Reagan
National Airport with limited shuttle service
linking Washington and New York, but federal
officials gave no deadline for a decision.
Speaking at a Capitol Hill meeting called
by Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), US Airways
Chairman Steve Wolf said the airport should
open as soon as possible, starting with flights
tying the nation's political and financial capi-
tals together in a symbolic answer to last
week's terrorist attacks.
FAA Administrator Jane Garvey embraced
the idea, assuring that the option of a staggered
reopening beginning with the Eastern Seaboard
shuttle was "very much on the table"
"The economic impact to the region, the
symbolism and what it stands for, (the shuttle's)
link to New York and our financial capital, is
not lost on anyone," Garvey told a Senate hear-
ing room with representatives of Delta, Conti-
nental, Northwest and United airlines and
congressional, business and local leaders.
"A phased-in approach is one we are very,
very vigorously (pursuing)," she said. "We
will do our best to look into it."
Yesterday's talks came as leaders from the

Virginia and Washington areas stepped up an
urgent lobbying campaign with the Bush
administration over the future of an airport
that is a vital piece of the commercial avia-
tion network and of the Washington-area
economy, but whose flight routes pose unique
hazards to government installations in Wash-
ington and Virginia.
The airport has emerged as one of the
country's most visible examples of collateral
damage from last week's terrorist attacks on
New York and the Pentagon. Officials repre-
senting the U.S. Department of Transporta-
tion, Department of Defense, Secret Service
and National Security Council continued to
meet and debate alternatives to a permanent
shutdown last night.
In his remarks, Wolf, head of the Arling-
ton, Va.-based carrier that Monday
announced it was laying off 23 percent of its
workforce, said that resumption of shuttle
service was a vital first step.
The shuttle route, shared by US Airways
and Delta Airlines, is among the industry's
most profitable and cannot be duplicated by
shifting operations to more remote locations
such as Dulles International Airport.
"The closure of National Airport is a visi-
ble victory for terrorism," Wolf said. "It must
be opened at 'the earliest possible date with

every security precaution."
Wolf added, "It would be appropriate to
conclude that private aviation, general avia-
tion should probably be excluded from
National and dispersed to other airports."
Regional flights, both private and military,
accounted for more than one-third of 300,000
takeoffs and landings at National last year.
"People are hungry for a decision," Garvey
said, "and people have been extremely
patient." She could offer no timetable on a
decision, however.
On other fronts yesterday, the Greater
Washington Board of Trade wrote to Presi-
dent Bush, encouraging him to reopen the
"We must not allow Reagan National to
become a monument to terrorism on the
shores of the Potomac River," said the letter
signed by John M. Derrick Jr., the, board's
chairman. "A re-opened Reagan National sig-
nals that America's capital is back to busi-
Republican Gov. James S. Gilmore III pre-
pared this morning to ask Bush to declare
Arlington a disaster area, granting federal
relief to residents affected by the attacks and
the airport shutdown. Meanwhile, the eco-
nomic toll to aviation and related industries

The arrival screens at Reagan National Airport have said the same thing - "cancelled" - for more than a
week, following last Tuesday's terrorist attacks. While most airports in the nation have resumed at least
limited scheduling, Reagan's close proximity to the Pentagon and White House has kept it empty.



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