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Saturday, 15 September, 2001, 11:05 GMT 12:05 UK
World airlines resume US flights
Bags AFP
International airlines say there will be long check-ins
The world's airlines scrambled to rebuild their schedules on Saturday after the United States opened its skies to foreign aircraft.

Around the globe, carriers were sending out some of their first passenger planes to US destinations for four days.

The travelling public ... needs to expect a slow methodical start-up to our aviation system

Director of aviation, Massachusetts Port Authority
In the US itself, domestic services began to return to normal after the chaos and confusion that followed Tuesday's attacks on New York and Washington DC.

Boston's Logan International Airport - from where two of the hijack planes took off - was cleared to re-open on Saturday, leaving Reagan National Airport at Washington the only major US airport still closed to traffic.

Federal authorities said its proximity to the Pentagon and other government buildings created enough security concern to keep it closed for the time being.

Building schedules

Many international carriers said they would attempt to run near normal schedules on Saturday. The UK airlines British Airways and Virgin Atlantic expected to operate more than two-thirds of their transatlantic services.

The German flagship airline Lufthansa said 21 of Saturday's 25 scheduled flights to the United States could be expected to go ahead.

Gun AP
All around the world, security measures have been strengthened
And the picture was much the same across Europe: Air France planned 10 flights to the US; the Dutch airlines KLM and Martinair said they would fly into Houston and Miami; and Belgian carrier Sabena said it would operate flights to both the US and Canada.

In China, officials said two US airlines operating out of Shanghai - United Airlines and Northwest Airlines - would resume flights to the United States from Saturday.

In Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific Airways said it had cancelled one of its two flights to Los Angeles, but would operate services to Toronto, Vancouver, San Francisco and New York as well as one flight to Los Angeles. And in Australia, Qantas Airways said five flights had been scheduled to go to America.

Private planes

All the airlines warned their passengers to turn up earlier than usual for check-in and to expect more stringent security measures.

In the US itself, the limited number of domestic routes started up on Thursday was being progressively widened. Also cleared to reopen was Boston's Logan International Airport.

Desk AFP
There is expected to be high demand from stranded passengers
It was from Boston that hijackers commandeered the two aircraft that were used to crash into New York's landmark World Trade Center twin towers.

Thomas Kinton, director of aviation for the Massachusetts Port Authority, which runs Logan airport, said passenger services would take a while to return to normal.

"The travelling public ... needs to expect a slow methodical start-up to our aviation system," he said.

Washington's Reagan National Airport remained closed indefinitely, because of its proximity to the Pentagon, the White House and other key government buildings.

Federal officials also re-opened the skies to most private planes for the first time since grounding them in the wake of Tuesday's attacks - but none will be allowed to fly within about 50 kilometres (30 miles) of Washington DC and New York City.

The BBC's Susanna Reid
reports from Heathrow Airport in London
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