passengers who fly in and out of Washington's Reagan National Airport,
the good news is that planes will soon be flying again. The bad
news is that there will be far fewer of them than before the terrorist
attacks of September 11.
pressure from local politicians and business leaders, this morning
George W. Bush traveled to Reagan to announce the airport's reopening.
"It's time to start flying again," the president said.
"There is no greater symbol that America is back in business
than the reopening of this airport."
Bush said there
would be increased security measures at Reagan, which he said "reflect
the new and tight security concerns that all Americans share."
But in his speech he did not detail the administration's complex,
multi-part plan for the airport's new operations. According to White
House officials, this is how the plan will work:
will open in two phases. Phase One will begin this Thursday, when
shuttle service to New York and Boston will resume. Also around
that time, service between Reagan and six cities Atlanta,
Pittsburgh, Chicago, Dallas, Minneapolis, and Newark will
start up. White House officials say Phase One will last about three
time, there will be several restrictions on service. No aircraft
with seating capacity above 156 passengers will be allowed to fly.
Flights will be confined to the period between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.
And service will be limited to about 190 flights per day
just 24 percent of the 792 flights that flew each day before the
The White House
says Phase One will last about three weeks. After that, Phase Two
will begin. Larger planes will still be banned, but total service
will rise to about 450 flights per day (about 57 percent of the
old level). Officials will allow direct flights to ten additional
cities locations have not been announced. The White House
says Phase Two will last between 30 and 45 days after the completion
of Phase One.
be no general-aviation, or private-plane, traffic at the airport
during Phase One and Phase Two.
time, the administration says there will be greatly enhanced security
measures at the airport. There will be federal air marshals on some
flights, but White House officials will not say how many. There
will be random searches of passengers at gates, plus identification
checks as passengers board their planes. There will be more police
patrolling. And flight crews that fly in and out of Reagan will
face mandatory security screening.
One and Phase Two are completed, the White House says there will
be a "resumption of normal commercial operations" at Reagan.
Still, it is not clear how closely that schedule will resemble the
way the airport ran before September 11.