Poll: States confidence in airline security growing Safety: Texans willing to put with tight security at airports. - Brownsville Herald: Local News

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Poll: States confidence in airline security growing Safety: Texans willing to put with tight security at airports.

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Posted: Saturday, September 29, 2001 12:00 am

By J.R. GONZALES

Scripps Howard News Service

Seventy-seven percent of Texans say stricter airport security measures will

make them feel safer about flying and a majority of residents are not less

likely to fly on commercial planes despite the recent terrorist attacks,

according to The Scripps Howard Texas Poll.

Nineteen percent say heightened security wont ease their fears. Although 61

percent say the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks have not deterred them from flying,

35 percent say they are less likely to board a plane now.

About 128,000 job cuts have occurred in the airline industry since the

attacks. And Delta Airlines is carrying 140,000 daily passengers, down from

its normal load of 300,000.

While business for both travel agents and airlines may have dropped in the

week following the attacks, work is beginning to pick up. Less than 10 percent

of Texans say theyve canceled or postponed flight travel plans due to the

recent attacks.

Monick Rigdon, owner of DTours Travel in Fort Worth, said her customers dont

seem ready to fly at the moment. Since the attacks, her agency has had to

process cancellations and refunds from both business and leisure travelers.

She said business only began to pick up just this week. Rigdon said that

consumer confidence in the airline industry would increase when more people

realize that traveling by air is their only choice.

With American Airlines flights cut by about 20 percent and passenger loads

down, poll data proving consumer confidence in the airline industry was

welcome news.

I hope they continue to feel that way, said Kurt Iverson, American Airlines

spokesman.

On Thursday, President Bush outlined some of those security procedures by

introducing a comprehensive airline security package that includes expanding

the use of federal air marshals, spending $500 million on airplane security

modifications and putting the federal government in charge of airport

security.

Gov. Rick Perry also has complied with President Bushs request that the

nations governors call up the National Guard to perform security functions at

commercial airports.

Portillo said airport security is probably safer now than before the attacks.

The reality is that this is safe, Portillo said. People make it safe.

Texans are divided over whether increased airport security could have

prevented the attacks.

Forty-seven percent say the terrorist attacks would have occurred even if

airport security were tightened, compared with 44 percent who say increased

security would have prevented the attacks.

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