Airlines See No Changes After Attacks

Major U.S. airlines see little impact to their flight schedules after Sunday's strikes by the United States and Britain in Afghanistan because they have no or few operations in the region. 

Most U.S. airlines say they do not fly to or over Central Asia thus have no need to cancel flights or change flight patterns. 

``We don't fly to that part of the world,'' said US Airways Group Inc. spokesman John Bronson. ``For us it would be business as usual.'' 

On Sunday night in Afghanistan, the United States and Britain launched powerful air and missile strikes against bases, airports and suspected training camps in Afghanistan by last month's jetliner attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. 

The biggest U.S. carriers Delta Air Lines Inc., Continental Airlines Inc. and AMR Corp.'s American Airlines and Northwest Airlines Corp. all said they were operating flights as normal at this time. UAL Corp.'s United Airlines could not be reached for comment. 

Airlines that operate flights to the Israel and the Middle East, a region expected to be under heightened alert following the attacks, say they have no plans to curb schedules to those locations. 

``At this time we are running our normal flight schedule,'' said Continental spokeswoman Erica Roy. Continental flies to Tel Aviv and other countries in the Middle East and has no plans at this time to cancel its flights to those parts of the world, Roy said. 

Airlines like Northwest Airlines that fly to Asian countries such as India say it's too early to say whether they will make schedule changes. India's regional rival Pakistan has offered the United States overflight rights for its campaign against the Taliban and the al Qaeda organization in neighboring Afghanistan. 

``It's too early to tell,'' said Mary Beth Schubert, spokeswoman at Northwest Airlines. ``At this point, we have made no change to our flight schedules.'' 

The airline industry, which were already suffering from the slowdown in economic growth, was the one of the hardest hit after the Sept. 11. Airlines slashed thousands of jobs and cut schedules by 20 percent as travel demand slumped amid concerns about security. 

Airlines, which have been beefing up security at U.S. airports since the Sept. 11 attacks, say that security was even more important following Sunday's attacks. 

``Our security is already at a heightened state,'' said American Airlines spokesman Todd Burke, adding that the airline is working with the Federal Aviation Administration and complying with all FAA regulations. 

FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said the agency was working closely with air carriers to ensure maximum safety at the nation's airports. 

``We're working closely with the air carriers in the airports to make sure that the national air space is as safe as possible,'' Brown said. 

Asked about enhanced security measures, another FAA spokeswoman, Marcia Adams said, ``There have been enhanced security measures in place since Sept. 11.'' 

She declined to say whether any additional measures had been implemented Sunday as the U.S. launched strikes against targets in Afghanistan.