Six weeks ago, 19 hijackers changed our lives forever. In an instant, the air travel system that gives us the freedom to go where we want to go, do what we want to do, and be with the people who matter most to us, was transformed into an instrument of fear. The fact that our airport was used in an unimaginable plot that killed thousands of innocent people is something I will carry in my mind and heart forever.
In the aftermath of September 11, this agency faced enormous challenges. Years of training, drills and disaster simulations allowed Logan emergency personnel to respond immediately and effectively. Logan opened within four days of the crisis and has steadily increased its level of operations and passengers ever since. I'd like to thank the scores of Massport and airline professionals who, every day since September 11, have kept emotions in check while providing nonstop service to Logan's users. Everyone understood that staying focused was the way through this catastrophe.
On September 12, I had three quantifiable objectives: hire the world's premier experts to guide the future of Logan's security systems; guarantee Massport's financial stability; and in the end restore the flying public's confidence in Logan.
Today, the improvements in security at Logan go well beyond FAA directives and are among the most aggressive in the nation. The hiring of internationally renowned Israeli security expert Rafi Ron, has launched Logan into the forefront of counter-terrorism management. I've said repeatedly that Massport is committed to doing whatever it takes, spending whatever it needs, to make Logan the most secure airport in the country. Logan will soon become the first U.S. airport to emulate the successful models of our Israeli and European counterparts that have dealt with the realities of terrorism for some time now.
A new Logan Airport security chief will be announced by early December, and I can guarantee you that whoever is selected will meet the new security challenges before us. In the interim, Colonel DiFava will continue his vigilant pursuit of security infractions and his oversight of the myriad state police, national guard and other security personnel patrolling the airport.
Massport is in the final implementation stage of its Financial Recovery Plan. Newly revised operating and capital budgets will ensure the fiscal stability of Massport through the next year and beyond. We're all hopeful, that the trickle down effects of an injured aviation system will reverse itself sooner rather than later, and that air travel will return to pre-September 11 passenger and flight levels.
However, as a result of the events of September 11, the business of running an airport--the business of running Massport-- will never be the same. With the support of Governor Jane Swift, I was able to lead Massport through this historic crisis. Responsible and solid action plans are in place--for Logan in particular and Massport in general. The public is slowly returning to its travel plans.
With these objectives accomplished, I feel the Authority is back on course. I also feel that this is the right time for me to move on. I've advised Governor Swift that I will resign, effective November 15. I believe that my departure gives the governor more flexibility as she restructures state government to confront this new era of terrorist threats.
We've accomplished a great deal during my two years at Massport. In that time we advanced significant transportation projects, most notably among them Runway 14-32, which earned the state's environmental seal of approval last May. I sincerely hope, that in due time, the FAA will give the final approval for this project, in advance of the resurgence in air travel that will once again, highlight the need for this important airfield improvement.
Regionalization also became a reality in the past two years, with more travelers than ever choosing to bypass Logan for airports closer to home. We've revitalized Worcester Airport and reintroduced commercial service at Hanscom Field. In fact, Shuttle America, an airline operating out of Hanscom won an operational and symbolic victory in court this week, guaranteeing that NIMBY attitudes will no longer prevail. At the Port of Boston, Far East cargo carrier is close to sealing a deal, and cruise ship business is at an all time high. And a less visible, but important cultural change took place at Massport, where accountability for money spent became as important as money earned.
In conclusion, I'd like to thank Governors Weld, Cellucci and Swift for providing me the opportunity to serve the public over the past ten years. I'd like to thank the Massport Board for their leadership and willingness to invest in our facilities and make the tough choices necessary to focus the Authority on its core mission. And finally, a heartfelt thank-you to the men and women of Massport. In my decade of public service, I have never had the privilege of working with a more professional, dedicated and experienced group of people. They have kept the vital transportation resources of this state open and operating through the most trying of times. Thank you.