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Monday, January 30, 2023



Sept. 13, 2001 – Cars heading to Cyril E. King Airport Thursday morning were met by a Port Authority Police van blocking the road. Although a provisional green light had been given by the federal government for the nation's airports to resume traffic at 11 a.m. Thursday, the St. Thomas facility remained closed at noon, pending implementation of newly mandated security measures.
Port Authority Police Sgt. Merlin Christian had been given instructions to turn traffic back.
In the meantime, Ben Grimes, St. Thomas air traffic controller, said in answer to questions about when the airport would re-open, "I wish we knew. We want to open, but the onus is on each airport and each airline to implement security measures, and St. Thomas's aren't ready to go yet."
Only airline and airport employees were being allowed to enter the airport. A perplexed individual turned back by Christian said he just wanted to go to the Planning and Natural Resources Department offices on the upper floor of the airport terminal to get a permit which a DPNR staff member had just told him to come and pick up.
Representatives of the Avis and Hertz rental car companies stood at the airport entrance, telling their customers to return their cars to the company's maintenance facilities nearby.
Christian said only employees of Rush It and other businesses with offices at the airport were being allowed to enter. Customers will have to wait until the airport officially reopens, she said, patiently explaining to car after car that she didn't know when that would be.

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