- The Washington Times - Monday, April 15, 2002

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport today is authorized to resume the last of the flights that were halted September 11.
The resumption of flights would end an episode that shut down all but military air traffic nationwide for the only time in American history.
Local and national officials welcomed the revised scheduling to about 800 daily flights. Only 620 flights had been authorized by the Transportation Department.
"This has been a real struggle," D.C. congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton said. "I'm elated. But there's a lot of leftover business to be done."
Flights still are forbidden between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. They are restricted to a path that takes them over residential areas and away from the White House or other key government buildings. Private airplanes will continue to be excluded from the airport.
"Residents of D.C. and Virginia have had to put up with this noise and this disruption in their lives," Mrs. Norton said. "We don't need to use the flight pattern that we used immediately after September 11."
She said the ban on general aviation is hurting the local economy.
Nevertheless, praise outstripped frustration as the airport returns to its former business levels.
"That's very important, particularly for an airline like United," said Joe Hopkins, spokesman for United Airlines, which flies 13 times daily out of Reagan Airport to Chicago. "Washington to Chicago is one of the prime business routes in the United States."
"We have seen a return of air service to the airport; we've seen more passengers, especially since the Easter season," said Tara Hamilton, spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.
As Reagan Airport reopened in phases, it became perhaps the nation's most tightly secured commercial airport. National Guardsmen with machine guns still walk the corridors while Air Force fighter jets patrol overhead. Most flights have two armed air marshals on board instead of one.
Airplanes must make noisy "full-throttle takeoffs" to get away from the nation's capital as quickly as possible. They also are restricted to 165 seats, which rules out the Boeing 757s frequently used at Reagan Airport before September 11.

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