The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon by hijacked jetliners will likely result in a permanent change in airport security in the United States, according to local officials.
"The face of civil aviation will be changed forever," said Dave Korzep, superintendent of airport operations at the Salt Lake City International Airport.
Salt Lake airport officials and the FAA are still digesting Tuesday's attacks, Korzep said, and it would only be speculation at this point to say what long-term changes the public can expect.
"There will be changes. To what extent is going to require some thought," he said. "The traveling public can expect extra security measures on the ground and in the air and should plan accordingly."
Korzep said he expected the public would be open to additional security measures, even if it meant longer lines.
"There will be long-lasting ramifications on how air travel is conducted today," he said.
Airport officials shouldn't find the changes generating complaints from local travelers, according to a new poll. An overnight poll for the Deseret News and KSL by Dan Jones & Associates found an overwhelming 91 percent of Utahns said they will accept more security at airports.
Seventy-seven percent said they favored hand searches of all baggage put on airplanes.
Some three-fourths of those surveyed also said airport security officials should be held responsible for not stopping the armed terrorists from boarding the four airplanes that were hijacked and flown into the trade center towers, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.
Korzep said airport officials can't even begin to speculate on what went wrong to enable the terrorist attacks Tuesday.
"It was such a well-timed, choreographed attack," he said. "How could you possibly defend against it?"
John Powers, who served as executive director of the President's Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection from 1996 to 1998, said Americans should plan on needing a lot of extra time in the future to get on a plane. Powers was one of several speakers at the Jane's Facility Security Conference at the West Coast Hotel Tuesday in Salt Lake City.
Ernest Lorelli, senior explosive ordinance disposal engineer for a private Las Vegas company who also spoke at the conference, said new security measures would have to be taken at airports to prevent such a situation from happening again. But he didn't know what exactly is the answer.
"Are we going to put armed guards on every airplane?"