Winnipeg Airports Authority president and CEO Barry Rempel says Sept. 11, 2001, was the moment everything changed for his industry.
Rempel, who was at his old job in Calgary that day, said walking into the building and seeing all of the cancelled flights was an unforgettable moment.
“There was a large reader board at the entrance to the airport and it just said all flights cancelled until further notice,” Rempel told 680 CJOB.
“For an airline, airport guy, that was a first.”
Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of 9/11 — the deadliest terrorist assault on United States soil, and an event that forever changed air travel security around the globe.
Rempel said security quickly increased when planes got back in the air a few days after the incident, and the process to make air travel as safe as possible is still ongoing today.
“It’s a risk-based approach,” Rempel said of today’s safety measures.
“Wherever risk is seen as greater, there’s a variety of security measures that have been implemented that exceed the standard that was even put in (after 9/11).
Although the impact of the 9/11 attacks affected people around the world — including the families of the 24 Canadians who were killed — Rempel said Winnipeggers should be proud of the efforts by members of the community in helping grounded travellers, many of whom didn’t speak English.
“A lot of people from the Filipino community volunteered to come out and translate for us, to try and calm people — to understand that they were safe, they were on the ground, they would be looked after,” he said.
“And this community truly looked after people.”