- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 25, 2001

Employees and business owners whose livelihoods depend on a busy Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport welcomed the Bush administration's announcement Friday that flights would be restored over the next three months between the airport and 42 other cities.
"Things are looking up," said California Pizza Kitchen manager Terry Jordan. "Yesterday and Saturday were very busy. Still, it is slow compared to last year. This will help."
Since the September 11 terror attacks, the restaurant has had to lay off 15 of its 35 employees and close another store in the airport's center pier, Mr. Jordan said.
Because business has been picking up in the past few weeks, the restaurant has been able to rehire three former employees. "They were very happy," Mr. Jordan said.
Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta announced Friday that by March 1, Reagan Airport will have 620 flights a day, 77 percent of its pre-attack levels. Reagan Airport currently serves 25 cities, and service will be expanded to another 42. The latest expansion means nonstop flights will be restored to every airport that had such service before September 11.
The move comes just in time, say retailers and restaurateurs like Mr. Jordan.
Cassie Zhang, who works for Capital Image, a kiosk that sells T-shirts, postcards and metal models of an intact Pentagon, said business at the cash register has been off by 50 percent.
Hailey Aweke, a manager of the Tie Rack, said sales had been improving already but the damage is already done.
"Sales are better, but they cannot beat last year," he said.
While business owners and operators at Reagan Airport looked forward to brighter days, passengers in the terminal and at airports around the country faced yet another twist in the ongoing scramble to plug airline security holes.
Two days after a man tried to detonate a shoe bomb on a trans-Atlantic flight to Miami, passengers at area airports were offering up their boots, sneakers even women's flats for inspection.
At Baltimore-Washington International Airport, most passengers said they didn't mind delays in the terminal if it meant peace of mind on the airplane.
"I don't mind it. I think it is worth the trouble because it lowers the chances of anything happening while you are up there. If they want to go through my shoes, I will let them," said Chris Cates, a resident of Manassas who was waiting to take a flight to Denver.
Yesterday, armed guards in camouflage uniforms also walked around the terminals and stood at security checkpoints. Passengers were reminded over the speakers to unwrap any packages before putting them through the X-ray machines, and only ticketed travelers were allowed beyond security checkpoints.
Terrie Butz of Boise, Ind., said that luckily, she had heard about not wrapping her gifts before she left home. "It would have been a nightmare to have to unwrap them," she said.
Mrs. Butz, who flew into BWI with her daughter Natalie, said security appeared to be good, but added that there were some lapses. She said she was surprised when a woman sitting next to her on a plane pulled out a manicure kit, including a pair of scissors, and proceeded to clip her baby's nails.
Frances Cole said the tightened security made her feel better.
"The way the world is today, everybody thinks they can do anything. When you come to the airport and see the guards, you feel comfortable," said Miss Cole.
Not everyone felt reassured by the guards, however. "They scare me … I wish they would carry smaller guns," said Miss Butz, whose shoes were checked before she boarded the flight at Boise. "They thought I could be carrying explosives in the lining," she said with a laugh.
Others were skeptical that the extra security was enough, given the fact that the checks are done at random. "If someone truly wanted to bring something on board, I guess they could," said Lisa Emrich of Falls Church.

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