SWGA Airport rebounding after last year's attacks - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

SWGA Airport rebounding after last year's attacks

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September 11, 2002

Albany--Even with the country under heightened alert, people are flying out of the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport. That's good news for an airport that has been hit with huge financial losses in the last year. One year later, the airport is slowly recovering, and people are returning to the skies.

There's lots of bustle at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport, as Monday morning's 10 a.m. flight to Atlanta prepares to leave. This scene on September 9th is quite different from September 11th one year ago.

Within a few hours after the first plane hit the World Trade Center, the nation's airspace was shut down for the first time in history. This airport was closed as well, and no one knew what was next. Airport Director Richard Howell says, "It was a traumatic experience because we didn't know where we were going or what kind of flying operations we were going to have."

Operations at the airport slowly resumed. But, what travelers experience at the airport these days is much different than before the terrorist attacks. Airline passenger Lisa Spano says, "Certainly security is much more vigilant. I travel with my husband who is tall and bearded and he would get stopped a lot."

The demand to fly this week is down, forcing flight reductions but passengers we spoke to say they are not afraid to fly on September 11th and some say it's the safest day to fly. Creg Jordan says, "The lady that books them for my company she said you know you are flying on September 11th, and I said really I figured it's the safest day to fly."

Security at the airport is very visible, although Airport Director Richard Howell says its not any heavier this week. But, passengers say the security presence makes them feel safe, and they will continue to fly. The airport lost double what was anticipated last year, about 300 thousand dollars.

Posted at 3:45 by melissa.kill@walb.com