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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Security Heightened at Nation's Airports

Aired September 11, 2002 - 07:59   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: We are going to move along now to Reagan National Airport to get a sense of how many out there of you will even head out to travel today.
Patty, I want to check in with you now. Patty Davis joins us.

We talked with a number of travelers yesterday, who said they were going to fly today simply out of defiance. What are you finding there this morning?

PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, two passengers that I talked to today say that this is probably the safest day to fly. And indeed, airport security across the country is heightened, being that the alert, the terror alert system has been increased from yellow to orange.

Now, federal air marshals are out in force. They are all called up to go on the job. They are on domestic and international flights.

Also, airports are in close contact with law enforcement, both state and local. And TSA personnel, that would be passenger screeners, on heightened alert status as well. They are looking very more closely at passengers and at their baggage.

Airports around the country, though, Paula, are pretty empty today. In fact, many airlines cut flights, and that is because fewer passengers booked this week and today.

Now, overall, according to OAG Worldwide, airlines cut domestic flights today 13 percent compared to last Wednesday. And next week, just as a comparison, those flights bounce back again.

And just to look at some of those particular airports. Washington Reagan, we have seen an 18 percent drop in flights today over last Wednesday. Chicago O'Hare, 16 percent fewer scheduled flights. Newark, 32 percent fewer flights scheduled by airlines. Boston Logan, 25 percent fewer flights as opposed to last Wednesday.

Now, observances for September 11 set at many airports across the country. This airport, for instance, is having chapel services. Many airports across the country taking a moment of silence at 8:46 to remember what happened last September 11.

Now, here at Washington's Reagan National Airport, airport employees are wearing red, white and blue ribbons. I have seen lots of airport employees, airline employees, hugging. There were a group of American Airlines employees, in fact, had gathered, lots of hugs taking place, that they were preparing to go over to the Pentagon for ceremonies.

But that's pretty much what's going on here. Airports, airlines, the passengers remembering last September 11 -- Paula.

ZAHN: Thanks so much, Patty Davis.

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