of Transportation Norman Mineta
Department of Transportation
September 14, 2001
Secretary Mineta Re-Opens Skies to General Aviation
Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta has approved restoration of the
next phase of national air service, allowing certain general aviation flights
back into the air effective at 4:00 p.m. Eastern time today.
"Effective today, general aviation - that important segment of aviation
consisting of privately owned and operated aircraft - will be allowed to resume
flights operating under Instrument Flight Rules, or IFR," Secretary Mineta
said. "Under IFR, certified pilots operate under direction from air traffic
controllers, after filing specific flight plans with the FAA."
Temporarily, however, general aviation flights will not be allowed to fly within
25 nautical miles of New York City and Washington, D.C. Those restrictions will
be kept in place until further notice as officials continue to assess the recovery
situation in those cities over the near term.
The Secretary's decision today also permits the FAA to allow private aircraft
owners to evacuate their aircraft under visual flight rules from harm's way
during the predicted approach of Tropical Storm Gabrielle within the states
of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama.
Secretary Mineta said he is hopeful that the remaining general aviation flights,
those operating under Visual Flight Rules, can resume flying later this weekend.
Commercial flights were allowed to resume on Thursday, contingent upon airline
and airport compliance with heightened security standards established by the
Federal Aviation Administration.
"We are restoring the national airspace system in a phased manner, after
careful evaluation of the safety and security issues in each sector," the
Secretary said. "Again, I ask the patience of the flying public. Please
remember that we are recovering from a massive disruption and widespread shock.
But very soon we will work our way back to full recovery."
There are more than 200,000 privately owned and operated aircraft registered
in the United States.