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Airport Security Alerts Numerous Since Sept. 11

January 13, 2002

Security scares at U.S. airports and abroad have made the news regularly since the Sept. 11 attacks. But really, how bad has it been?

Pretty bad, according to statistics from the Federal Aviation Administration. Giving numerical heft to traveler insecurities, the numbers show 30 airport terminals were evacuated on orders of the FAA between Oct. 30 and Dec. 31. The evacuations caused 1,180 flight delays, 464 flight cancellations and 15 diversions of planes to other airports, said FAA spokesman William Shumann. And those statistics cover only the evacuations ordered by the FAA, he notes. LAX, for instance, ordered several evacuations in the same period, a spokeswoman said, although there were no FAA-ordered evacuations there.

Besides the evacuations, FAA agents ordered people off 434 flights because of possible problems in security screening, Shumann added. The FAA began tracking delays and cancellations due to security concerns on Oct. 30 and has been regularly updating them.

There were fewer fatal airliner accidents worldwide in 2001 than average--in fact, the fewest since 1946, according to the Aviation Safety Network, which compiles statistics on the subject. Because of the Sept. 11 attacks, however, the number of deaths caused by such accidents set a record, it added. The network reported 34 fatal airliner accidents in 2001, versus an average of 48 per year from 1991 through 2000.

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