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Flight Ban Proposed For 9/11

Foreign-owned airlines and the U.S. general aviation industry are lobbying the federal government to back off a plan to temporarily restrict flights over the three Sept. 11 crash sites.

Federal regulators are proposing to restrict foreign-owned commercial and cargo aircraft from flying into and from New York and Washington and over Somerset County, Pa., on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks. They're also considering banning small, privately owned aircraft from New York from Sept. 11-13.

The planes would be prohibited from flying within 30 miles of the three locations.

Warren Morningstar, spokesman for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, said federal regulators told industry representatives the flight restrictions would be imposed for "general security reasons" and to avoid disrupting commemorative ceremonies.

"We're certainly trying to find some better accommodations so that people with legitimate transportation needs can use their aircraft," Morningstar said.

A Federal Aviation Administration official declined to comment beyond describing the proposal, which could be approved as early as Friday.

The International Air Transport Association, which represents U.S. and foreign-owned airlines, questioned why American-owned airlines are not included.

"The way (the proposed restriction) is structured now discriminates against foreign airlines and unintentionally suggests that a foreign airline isn't as secure as a domestic airline, and that certainly isn't the case," spokeswoman Wanda Warner said.

David Stempler, president of the Air Travelers Association, said the plan would inconvenience many travelers and may increase anxieties about Sept. 11.

The proposed restrictions include:

  • Banning internationally owned planes to and from Washington from 8:30 a.m. EDT to 11 a.m. on Sept. 11.

  • Foreign-owned planes would not be permitted to take off and land in New York from 8 a.m. to noon and 3:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Sept. 11. On Sept. 12, the ban would be in effect from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
  • Small aircraft flying to and from New York would be restricted from 7 a.m. on Sept. 11 to 8 p.m. on Sept. 13.
  • Flights would not be allowed over Somerset County, Pa., where one of the four hijacked planes crashed, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 11.

    The restrictions were first reported by The Financial Times of London

    By Leslie Miller

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