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CNN BREAKING NEWS

FAA Imposes New Airspace Restrictions

Aired March 18, 2003 - 15:14   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Department of Homeland Security has raised the threat of terrorism level to high, which equates to the color code of orange. Along with that, the Transportation Security Agency is looking into closing down additional chunks of U.S. air space to general aviation.
For more on all of that, we turn now to CNN's Patty Davis, who covers aviation issues for us. She joins us from Reagan National Airport in Washington -- Patty.

PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Miles, this is not the TSA. In fact, this is the Federal Aviation Administration that has just announced new restrictions on air space in several parts of the country. These go into effect -- just went into effect a matter of a couple of a minutes ago, at 3:00 Eastern time and will be in effect, because of that orange alert until further notice.

The headline here: there is a temporary flight restriction, basically a no-fly zone now, around Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Also Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida.

The FAA has also added a air defense identification zone. It's a 30-mile zone inside -- that's in New York, around three airports, Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark, in which, any flights at all have to have a flight plan and they have to be squawking and talking to air traffic control. Basically that means they have to have a transponder to identify them and they have to be talking to air traffic control.

This primarily affects small aircraft that -- because a lot of them don't file flight plans when they are under visual flight rules. And they don't necessarily talk with air traffic control. They'll all be forced to do thereat. Air traffic wants to keep track of every single aircraft, know where they are and know if any of them are a threat.

Also, in the Washington, D.C. area, we still have a 30-mile zone that's been in effect since that last orange alert. That remains in effect. But what's been added to that is all pilots now must file a flight plan, because, like I said, some of those small guys don't have to do that. That's now an added requirement.

In addition to that, there are three airport in this area, small airports, College Park, Potomac and Washington Executive Hyde (ph). These are small, private airports. They will now be required -- anybody flying into those airports to stop at another airport outside that 30-mile zone and get screened by the Transportation Security Administration before they come in. The reason why those airports are of such interest to the FAA here is they're very close to Washington, D.C., close to the Washington Monument and it would be a prime opportunity for anybody so close to get a crack at coming on in here and doing some damage downtown -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: More bad news for the operators of those small airports called the D.C. three.

All right. Patty Davis at Washington National Airport, thanks very much.

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