The Tuesday when everything changed

As we approach the 20th anniversary of the September 11 atrocities, Tom Batchelor reflects on how the attacks have influenced the aviation industry

The sun sets on a flag hanging on a 9/11 memorial in front of the Manhattan skyline on April 15, 2021
GARY HERSHORN/GETTY IMAGES

When the first reports came in of a massive fire engulfing the upper floors of one of New York City’s World Trade Center towers, it was not immediately clear what had caused it. Unconfirmed eyewitness accounts suggested that an aircraft was involved and that it looked deliberate. Any ambiguity about the origins of the inferno was all but confirmed minutes later when a second jet slammed into the second tower at the southernmost tip of Lower Manhattan.

In all, four airliners were hijacked on September 11, 2001 – the other two having crashed into the Pentagon in Virginia and a field in Pennsylvania. It was an audacious coordinated attack that cost nearly 3,000 lives and triggered the most profound shake-up the aviation industry had ever seen.

Become a Premium Member to Read More

This is a premium article and requires an active Key.Aero subscription to view.

I’m an existing member, sign me in!

I don’t have a subscription…

Enjoy the following subscriber only benefits:

  • Unlimited access to all KeyAero content
  • Exclusive in-depth articles and analysis, videos, quizzes added daily
  • A fully searchable archive – boasting hundreds of thousands of pieces of quality aviation content
  • Access to read all our leading aviation magazines online - meaning you can enjoy the likes of FlyPast, Aeroplane Monthly, AirForces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, Aviation News, Airports of the World, PC Pilot and Airliner World - as soon as they leave the editor’s desk.
  • Access on any device- anywhere, anytime
  • Choose from our offers below