Page 13 - Linkline Summer 2018
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Canada staff were joined by staff from NavCanada, National Defence and other concerned agencies and communications links were established with all relevant national agencies and their counterparts in the US  While US airspace remained sealed, any airborne flights risked being shot down by the US Air Force, the Canadian authorities, and particularly Mr Collenette were being asked to authorise exceptions  He made some exceptions for flights to come into Canada, which were vital to Canadian national interests, but others, although he wanted to authorise them on a human level, had to be rejected 
For the planes that had landed in Canada, at a host of airports around that massive nation, the ordeal was not over  Many of the passengers were confined to the aircraft for up to 16 hours, as immigration and customs procedures at remote airports were put in place, with security the primary concern  Mr Collenette noted the stress placed on personnel and communities and on various provincial governments, which were forced to accept thousands of unexpected visitors, but their resolve and compassion was noted and appreciated, with towns and villages opening their arms to their unexpected visitors, many for whom were stranded there for many days 
“Later that afternoon of 9/11, Norman Mineta called, my US counterpart to thank me for the assistance of the Canadian government and the many thousands of Canadians who had turned their own lives upside down to meet the fallout of the events on that tragic day and the following days which ensued before flight traffic could return to normal  I also am
continually amazed by how quickly the behemoth of government acted so nimbly, adapting a paperless model to get things done  Everyone shared knowledge  No one held back  The informal relationships and comradeship developed over the years carried the day  It was a day that we entered unknown territory, decisions had to be made quickly  To paraphrase former US President Harry Truman, the buck on that day did stop with us  Thank god we got it right,” he concluded 
A few words were spoken at the event by former Aer Lingus pilot Captain Derek Bothwell (Ret), who was flying an A330 from Dublin to New York on that fateful day before being forced to land in Canada in the town of Gander  Along with the restrictions on traffic and movement he had to deal with several challenges on board including a passenger who suffered a heart attack, an unruly passenger who needed to be detained and the joys of dealing with overloaded toilets on the plane when the passengers were confined on the tarmac  He spoke warmly of the reception they received from the Canadians and of the friendships formed in the surreal circumstances that were triggered by the atrocities of September 11  Also, at the event were Eugene McNamee, Aer Lingus Operations (Retd), and John Burke, CEO Aer Rianta (Ret)  Both individuals gave an interesting story of what happened from their perspective, making for a fascinating evening of recollections and stories of an event that continues to share the world we live in today 
Many thanks to David for giving his time to come and speak to CILT 
  Finbarr Cleary, CILT President Helen Noble and David Collenette
 The Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport 13

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