How 9/11 changed air travel


JOPLIN, Mo. — Many aspects of life changed forever that fateful day, perhaps none more than public transportation especially air travel.

Almost instantly, new changes were put in place that still effect they way we travel today.

“That day changed everything,” said Steve Stockam, Joplin Regional Airport.

Joplin Regional Airport Manager Steve Stockam remembers that day clearly.

“I was actually at the Spiva Arts Center getting ready to do a presentation. I got a phone call first, we turned a TV on, um by that time, I immediately left and came back to the airport. By the time I got back out here, we were getting all sorts of updates and requirements to do certain things,” said Stockam.

After a day of receiving faxes and figuring out what information was real or not, Stockam remembers one thing the most.

“Later in the evening, um, standing out here at the airport and it was totally quiet. I mean normally an airport’s fairly noisy, I mean cars coming and going, air craft and all those things. It was probably the quietest I’d ever seen at the airport,” said Stockam.

In the aftermath of 9/11, came the TSA and Homeland Security. Along with technology, those things have impacted air travel the most.

“Back prior to that the screening for air craft was done by the airlines. Especially small communities like Joplin. With the onset of TSA and how that went. That technology and all of those things started happening from that point,” said Stockam.

Prior to 9/11, plans for the current airport terminal were underway. But after that day, some of those plans changed to accommodate what was to come.

“Nearly three thousand square feet of this building was modified and added due to the changed in what we saw from TSA,” said Stockam.

And with all of the modifications and changes, has come the biggest change of all for airports big and small…

“Before we worked with the airlines, we handled the screening. Bigger airports hired their own screening companies. Everything was controlled on a local level per facility. And that, that changed and now everything is controlled through TSA, DHS, and through Washington DC,” said Stockam.

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