Closure of the North American Airspace, September 11, 2001

Note: Video is provided through YouTube.

At 9:45 AM, Eastern Standard Time, an hour after the first hijacked plane collided with the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York, a complete closure of the North American airspace was ordered. This was the first time in history that the American, as well as the Canadian airspaces, were closed. Domestic flights were ordered to land at the nearest airport. However, this created difficulties for inbound international flights. At that time, the first westbound transatlantic flights were starting to enter the Canadian and American airspaces and could not head back to Europe, lacking enough fuel to do so. About 235 international flights thus landed in Canada, the great majority at Gander, Halifax, and St. John’s, as well as Vancouver for inbound transpacific flights. The airspace was reopened on September 13.