Attacks take toll on airlines
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- The effects on the airline industry of Tuesday's terrorist attacks became clearer Saturday as Continental Airlines announced major reductions in its flight schedule and staffing.
American and Northwest also announced plans to cut flights.
Continental said it will immediately reduce its long-term flight schedule by about 20 percent and will be forced to furlough some 12,000 employees.
"While we regret the necessity for this massive furlough and the substantial schedule reduction, the adverse effect on our dedicated employees and customers and the communities we serve, we have ... no choice," said Gordon Bethune, chairman and chief executive officer of Continental Airlines.
American, Northwest plan flight reductions
Northwest said it would reduce its flight schedule by 20 percent, citing the terrorist attacks, the resulting drop in passenger demand and new security measures. It did not indicate how the cutbacks will affect staffing.
American Airlines plans to cut its schedule by 20 percent, saying new security measures necessitated the cuts to minimize delays.
Continental said it will announce the details of the furlough next week and pleaded for federal help for airlines. Bethune called on President Bush and Congress to "restore the stability" of the airline industry.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta plans to meet with heads of the nation's major airlines next week to address problems related to the attacks. Other senior administration officials are expected to participate.
A measure that would have provided $2.5 billion in cash assistance to the airline industry and another $12.5 billion in loan guarantees was defeated in the House on Saturday amid concerns of special treatment for airlines.
House Minority leader Dick Gephardt, D-Missouri, however, promised to revisit the issue, saying the money is needed because financial trouble in the airline industry could cause a devastating ripple effect throughout the U.S. economy.
Logan reopens, Reagan still closed
As airlines operated on sharply reduced flight schedules, several worked to gradually add more flights throughout the weekend.
Most airports were open, including Boston's Logan International Airport, which reopened early Saturday.
Washington's Reagan National Airport remained closed indefinitely, but the Department of Transportation agreed to allow more than 120 aircraft stranded there to leave in three phases from Saturday to Monday.
Heightened security concerns led to tense moments Saturday.
Just hours after Boston's Logan Airport reopened, a 9:15 a.m. Delta flight to Atlanta was stopped on the tarmac and an individual was detained.
Ted Frier, a spokesman for airport operator Massport, said the man initially gave ticket agents a hard time as he tried to upgrade his seat.
"Once he got on the aircraft he continued to give the flight attendants such a hard time about where he was sitting that the captain decided he would not take off with this man on the plane," Frier said.
Officials deplaned all 87 passengers aboard Flight 1069 and removed all baggage to be rechecked as a security precaution. Frier said security officials questioned the man and later released him. The plane was allowed to take off without the man.
At St. Louis' Lambert Airport, TWA airlines spokesman Mark Abels said a concourse was temporarily shut down for security reasons. He would not elaborate.
"We don't have any information other than we shut down the concourse ... and all flights have resumed," he said.
Officials at the airport would not comment and the FAA's central region office could not be reached.
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