Halifax International Airport Authority (HIAA) acknowledges Sunday’s 15th anniversary of September 11, 2001 and the efforts of the airport community to respond to the events of that tragic day.
“This is a time for reflection,” says Joyce Carter, HIAA President & CEO. “Our thoughts go out to everyone near and far who were affected by the terror attacks on that fateful day.”
At approximately 11:35 a.m. on September 11, 2001, a United Airlines B767 landed at Halifax Stanfield International Airport. It was the first of 40 aircraft carrying some 8,000 passengers and crew that were diverted to Halifax that day. Halifax Stanfield accepted the greatest number of aircraft of any airport and was the first major airport to have all diverted flights back in the air.
“It’s been 15 years since hundreds of Halifax Stanfield employees responded quickly, professionally and with great compassion to the tragic events of a day that changed world history,” says Joyce Carter. “The memories are still very vivid for many of us who were working here on September 11, 2001, myself included. I remember, in the midst of the tragedy and devastation of the day, how very proud I was to witness my colleagues stop everything and team together to focus entirely on the needs of the thousands of people who arrived unexpectedly on our doorstep. It took five days before flights started moving again and during that time members of our airport community along with so many Nova Scotians opened their hearts and their homes to these unexpected visitors,” she says.
Halifax Stanfield received many expressions of thanks from around the world. Lufthansa Airlines named a plane in honour of Halifax. U.S. President George Bush wrote a thank you letter and on September 1, 2006, the President sent U.S. Secretary of State, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, to Halifax Stanfield to host a reception to mark the fifth anniversary. Some diverted passengers even bought space on a billboard in downtown Halifax to express their appreciation.