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Airlines trim Sept. 11 flights Flying fears cited as reservations decline for anniversary of attack- Denver Post August 1, 2002

United and American airlines are curtailing flights on Sept. 11, citing a renewal of the flying fears that plagued airlines in the aftermath of last year's terrorist attacks.

"As expected, we are seeing a decline in the number of reservations for Sept. 11 and we have adjusted our schedule accordingly to reflect the decreasing demand for travel," said American spokesman Todd Burke.

Burke did not reveal what flights were going to be curtailed.

United spokesman Chris Braithwaite said his airline was planning to simply reduce the frequency of some flights on Sept. 11.

"On that day we are going to slightly reduce our schedules on a small number of flights," Braithwaite said. "We are anticipating there will be less passenger traffic on that day."

United and American planes were hijacked by terrorists on Sept. 11 last year. The planes were flown into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania. With less than six weeks to go to the one-year anniversary of the attacks, airline representatives said reservations for travel on that day are down.

Continental Airlines spokesman Rahsaan Johnson said his company also had seen a dip in the number of bookings for Sept. 11.

"But it's a little too early to be making broad decisions on lowering capacity for that day," Johnson said. "At this point, we will be taking a look over the next few weeks to see."

Sept. 11 this year falls on a Wednesday, one of the slowest travel days. It also follows the Labor Day holiday, when traffic is usually minimal.

September is also one of the year's slower months for travel, said David Rojahn, owner of a Denver travel agency and head of the Rocky Mountain wing of the American Society of Travel Agents.

"That really doesn't surprise me," said Rojahn of the airlines' decision to cut back on flights. "We have seen a pattern that September is not going to be a great month travelwise. We are preparing ourselves for a very, very soft September."

Aspen's tourism businesses, which rely heavily on air travelers, are bracing for a slowdown following Sept. 11.

"We are definitely seeing some softness over that next weekend," said Bill Tomcich, president of Stay Aspen Snowmass Inc., the area's central reservations agency. "But things right now are looking up. The Labor Day weekend looks fantastic for us."

Denver's Frontier Airlines will not limit any flights that day, said spokeswoman Tracey Kelly. "But it is not a strong day for us."

Travel agent Rita Justice said she has not seen any significant numbers of travelers shying away from flying in September.

"But if the airlines are cutting back on flights, there's obviously not as much demand for travel," Justice said. "I would guess it's a cost-cutting measure."

Denver International Airport also is not planning to curtail any of its operations on that day, said airport spokesman Chuck Cannon. But the airport's administration is mulling some sort of special event to acknowledge the day.


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