Update 16:30, EST…Transport Canada, FAA lift some restrictions on airports in Canada, U.S.

by Canadian Shipper

By the close of the business day September 12, Transport Canada and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration had authorized the first steps toward the normalization of air travel in Canada and the U.S.. In Canada, diverted traffic was released for travel to their destinations and domestic air travel within Canadian airspace permitted to resume, effective immediately.

Diverted flights formerly scheduled to land in the United States will still require clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration to do so. More than 200 domestic and foreign flights were diverted yesterday to more than a dozen Canadian airports as a security measure.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta said the Federal Aviation Administration will allow a limited reopening of the nation’s commercial airspace system in order to allow flights that were diverted yesterday to continue to their original destinations.

The Secretary also announced that the FAA is temporarily extending the ground stop order imposed yesterday while additional security measures are being completed.

“These flight restrictions in Canada have been lifted as our assessment of the safety and security of Canadian airspace now warrants this action. Affected flights will be cleared to proceed as soon as the airports and air navigation systems can accommodate these movements and airlines are prepared to resume operations,” said Collenette.

He warned that Canadian travellers should be prepared to encounter delays at major Canadian airports due to heightened security measures.
“These measures include increased police presence at major airports, increased passenger screening and enhanced baggage security procedures,” he said.

“Safety is always of paramount importance, and in these extraordinary times we intend to be vigilant. We remain committed to resuming commercial flights as soon as possible,” said Mineta.

Mineta said the FAA would permit flights today only in special limited circumstances. Flights diverted as a result of yesterday’s order will be allowed to continue to their original destination under vastly tightened security guidelines. Only passengers on the original flights will be allowed to re-board, and only after airports and airlines have implemented strict screening measures. Airlines will also be allowed to reposition empty aircraft, he said.

In the U.S., Mineta said a variety of stepped-up security measures will be instituted at the airports once they re-open. These measures include a thorough search and security check of all airplanes and airports before passengers are allowed to enter and board aircraft, discontinued curbside check-in at the airport, discontinued off-airport check in. reserving boarding areas for passengers only, and closer monitoring of vehicles near airport terminals.

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