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FAA: U.S. Airports Need More Runways

November 13, 2002

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ Airports need more runways and better communication with the federal government to safely handle increased air traffic, the chief of the Federal Aviation Administration said Tuesday.

Six weeks into the job, Marion Blakey spoke about how to get more planes in the air when the number of travelers returns to pre-terrorist attack totals.

Blakey addressed about 1,000 delegates at the 11th annual Airports Council International _ a three-day conference drawing airport representatives from across the U.S. and Canada.

``American aviation will recover, and when it does that will be the key success against terrorism,″ she said. Describing the airline industry as ``not as robust as we would like,″ Blakey said the infrastructure at American airports needs to be upgraded now to handle the coming influx of passengers.

She emphasized safety, security and efficiency, saying the traveling public needs ``more planes, flying closer together, more safely.″

Blakey described new runways as the key to getting more people in and out of airports faster. Twelve new runways nationwide are scheduled to open before 2008, she said.

New technology to help aircraft navigate during severe weather and increased use of global positioning systems will be key to improved safety, she said.

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