Airport joins national shutdown | SierraSun.com

Airport joins national shutdown

Erich Sommer, Sierra Sun

The Truckee Tahoe Airport joined the rest of the nation’s airports in mandatory closure Tuesday morning after the Federal Aviation Administration ordered all outbound flights grounded, following apparent terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C.

As of 2 p.m. Wednesday, the airport was “closed indefinitely,” said a spokesman.

Tuesday afternoon, Secretary of Transportation Norm Mineta ordered the FAA to suspend all flights.

“We are shut down. We are part of the national transportation system, and we are shut down,” said Truckee Tahoe Airport General Manager David Gotschall on Tuesday morning.

“All aircraft operations are suspended until further notice nationwide, everything is grounded.”

Gotschall said the ban on flights applied to both commercial and general aviation aircraft.

“The only exceptions are life flights and fire suppression aircraft,” Gotschall said.

Gotschall said after learning about the events in New York, he directed staff at the airport to contact FAA Air Traffic Manager Joseph F. Saladino at the Reno/Tahoe International Airport.

Saladino informed airport personnel about the FAA directive to cease operations.

Gotschall said he was unaware of any FAA order that had shut down air traffic nationwide in his 20 years as a pilot and airport manager.

“I’ve been in aviation for over 20 years and I’ve never heard of this happening before,” he said.

It is indeed the first time in U.S. history all airports have been closed.

Gotschall said he knew of only one planned flight out of Truckee that was affected by Tuesday’s order.