Amid Search For Missing Airliner, EgyptAir Resumes Flights From Paris
MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
There is a lot we don't know about Flight 804. That's the EgyptAir passenger jet which has disappeared en route to Cairo. Two facts we do know - the plane took off last night at 11:09 p.m. Paris time. And the airport from which it flew was Paris Charles de Gaulle. That's where we find Raphael Satter this morning. He's a reporter with the AP. Hi, Raphael.
RAPHAEL SATTER: Good morning.
KELLY: Can you describe the scene for us at the airport right now?
SATTER: This scene is now finally quieting down after a very hectic morning. There are a lot of journalists still by the EgyptAir desk, which is just upstairs from where I am in Hall 5 of Terminal 1. But the check-in desks are closed. The EgyptAir desk is empty. And the - today's EgyptAir flight is just about to leave to go to Cairo on that very same route.
KELLY: This is the first EgyptAir flight to depart Paris since the crash. And I gather that there are family members aboard. What do we know about that?
SATTER: That's what we gather, too. But it's important to keep in mind that these family members have been kept very separate from the general public, the general traveling public and, indeed, journalists since this morning. They've been kept in the Mercure Hotel, which is about 1 or 2 kilometers from where I'm standing. And it's not entirely clear, even to the journalists who are here, how it is that they've gotten aboard the plane. In any case, they haven't boarded like the other passengers have. So in fact, we haven't been able to speak to very many although we have seen them go back and forth.
KELLY: And we should just note - the figures that we have been given by EgyptAir - that there were 15 French aboard, 30 Egyptians, 2 Iraqis and then a lot of other nationalities. And they've all been - many of them gathering at Charles de Gaulle trying to figure out what happened to their family members. It sounds, at the moment, as though there are more journalists than passengers and ticket agents around.
SATTER: I think that one of the ticket agents told one of my journalist colleagues here that there were a lot of cancellations today. And so I think it's going to be - I can't know for sure at this point, but it may be a rather empty flight.
KELLY: Describe for us what kind of security you're seeing there. We're talking about an airport in a city that, of course, was attacked - a terrorist attack this past fall. Security has already been so tight. I mean, how did you even manage to get to the airport and get inside?
SATTER: There isn't - the airport wasn't on lockdown. And it isn't on lockdown. So we're not talking about soldiers and barricades or anything like that. There is a police presence at the airport. In fact, a few meters from where I stand, there are some police walking around, one carrying a rifle. There were some bomb-sniffing dogs doing the rounds. But, in fact, it's not on lockdown. It's rather - it's nothing unusual. And it's rather - it's actually rather relaxed here.
KELLY: And just - we just have a few seconds left, Raphael. But I'm sure you've been talking to other other passengers. You mentioned there are some cancellations. Are people nervous?
SATTER: Yes. I think even the people who boarded the flight today were very nervous. And I spoke to a mother whose daughter boarded. She said that her daughter took a lot of convincing in order to fly today.
SATTER: But I could see in the mother's eyes that she wasn't completely convinced. She said she was still worried sick.
KELLY: OK. Thank you so much for talking to us.
SATTER: Thanks for having me.
KELLY: Raphael Satter, reported for the - reporter for The Associated Press in Paris. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.