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The Airways

listenTighter Security a New Way of Life for Americans
From airports to business offices to college football stadiums, federal, state and local officials are bolstering domestic security efforts. NPR's Ina Jaffe reports for Weekend Edition Saturday. Oct. 13, 2001.

Airlines Attempt a Difficult Comeback After Attacks

A Continental Airlines jet passes in front of the U.S. Capitol as Reagan National Airport reopens

A Continental Airlines jet passes in front of the U.S. Capitol as Washington's Reagan National Airport reopens, Oct. 4, 2001.
Photo: © Reuters 2001

Hours after suicide hijackers smashed airliners into the World Trade Center and Pentagon on Sept. 11, the nation's airways were shut down as a precaution against further attacks. While the airlines resumed flying within a few days, public fears kept most flights no more than half full.

The airlines as well as the nation's leading aircraft manufacturer, Boeing, had already been under financial pressure before the attacks, due to the weak economy. But steep losses after the attacks prompted more than 100,000 layoffs by the airlines and Boeing -- and led the government to come up with a $15 billion emergency rescue package for the airline industry. Hotels, restaurants and other travel related industries also suffered.

At the same time, security intensified at U.S. airports -- most dramatically with the deployment of National Guard troops -- and armed air marshals were placed aboard commercial flights. Those steps, along with steep discounts by major airlines, gradually lured travelers back to the skies.

Aviation Layoffs
Boeing Co.: up to 30,000 by end of 2002
AMR (American Airlines, American Eagle, TWA): 20,000
United Airlines: 20,000
Delta: 13,000
Continental: 12,000
US Airways: 11,000
Northwest: 10,000
America West: 2,000
American Trans Air: 1,500
Midway: 1,700 (shuts down)
Spirit Airlines: 800
Midwest Express: 450
Frontier Airlines: 440
Hawaiian Airlines: 430
National Airlines: 300
British Airways: 5,200
Air Canada: 5,000
Swissair: 3,000
Virgin Atlantic: 1,200
Sources: Associated Press, NPR research

Other Resources

Read about the debate over whether airport passenger screeners should be federal employees, Oct. 5, 2001.

Read about the reopening of Reagan Washington National Airport, Oct. 2, 2001.

Read how federal officials made plans to allow flights to resume, Sept. 12, 2001.

Details of President Bush's Sept. 27, 2001, announcement on steps to improve airport and airline security.

Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta's Sept. 20 statement to the Senate transportation appropriations subcommittee on aviation security and federal aid to the airlines

Air Line Pilots Association President Duane Woerth's Sept. 20 statement on aviation security to the Senate Commerce Committee

Air Transport Association's Sept. 19 statement on the financial condition of the airline industry to the House Transportation Committee

Boeing Co.'s Sept. 18 press release announcing plans to lay off up to 30,000 workers by the end of 2002

Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta's statements on aviation security, the resumption of commercial and general aviation

Reports on airport and aviation security from the General Accounting Office and the DOT Inspector General

Department of Transportation

Federal Aviation Administration and its answers to frequently asked questions about air travel

FAA Fact Sheet on the Federal Air Marshal Program

FAA Civil Aviation Security Web site

Air Transport Association

AirportHub airport portal Web site