Federal aviation officials have cleared some U.S. airports to reopen. Air traffic was grounded throughout the United States after hijacked commercial jets were used in terrorist attacks on Tuesday. In Los Angeles, officials are telling passengers to expect delays and added security at the airport.
Los Angeles airport director Lydia Kennard made the announcement Thursday morning: "We're very pleased to announce here at Los Angeles world airport that Los Angeles International Airport and Ontario Airport are ready to receive both arrivals and departures," she said. "After two long and difficult days, this is extremely welcome news for us here."
Another airport official, Michael Girolamo, said only a few flights were likely on Thursday afternoon, with the numbers increasing Friday and over the weekend. He said airlines should resume full operations late next week.
Congestion will be heavy in view of the hundreds of outbound flights that have been canceled. In addition, the airport official says many flights bound for Los Angeles were diverted to other places and are now being rescheduled.
"There could be as many as 150 flights inbound that were diverted that morning, Tuesday morning," said Mr. Girolamohe. "We've got a lot in Canada, we've got a lot in Mexico, we've got some that were diverted to Hawaii. They'll be in here later this afternoon, we hope."
New federal regulations will mean delays for passengers. There will be no more checking of baggage outside airport terminals, a convenience for many travelers in the past. No knives of any kind will be permitted on board aircraft, including small pocket knives that were previously permitted. And only ticketed passengers will be allowed to enter the airline boarding-area beyond security checkpoints. As a temporary measure, only commercial vehicles such as taxis and shuttle buses will be permitted near terminals at Los Angeles airports.
According to Los Angeles deputy police chief David Kalish, there will also be a stronger police presence at air terminals. "Not only will the Los Angeles airport police be present, the Los Angeles police department, but obviously a number of federal agencies will also be deployed here," he said. "All of us working together to ensure the safety of the public."
An airport official says passengers should allow at least an extra hour for what he terms a "diligent search" of both passengers and luggage.