Industry approaches air travel with caution

Several automakers and suppliers have suspended or are placing limits on all business air travel in response to Tuesday's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

General Motors on Wednesday suspended all international travel and "strictly prohibited" travel to the Middle East. The automaker said employees who are currently on a business trip may remain where they are, or can choose to return home by the means they deem safest at company expense.

Federal authorities on Thursday began slowly reopening the skies to travel, allowing airports that can meet new strict security guidelines to open. There was no word when international flights would resume.

Among policies enacted by auto companies:

GM is discouraging travel within North America and within continental Europe.

Ford Motor Co., as part of its cost-cutting measures, already has restricted business travel to "critical business needs and emergencies." Additionally:

Employees who are reluctant to fly may address their concerns with their supervisor. Decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Employees were issued a memo Wednesday, Sept. 12, detailing the stricter security measures mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Chrysler Group will only allow essential travel.

American Suzuki Motor Corp. has asked its employees to keep travel as minimal as possible for the next 10 days. The company will still conduct its national dealer meeting scheduled for Sept. 30 through Oct. 2 in Las Vegas, a Suzuki spokeswoman said.

Robert Bosch Corp. has suspended all travel until further notice. U.S. employees in Germany will be allowed to return Sunday, Sept. 16 or Monday, Sept. 17.

Dana Corp. has banned all air travel.

Johnson Controls Inc. is urging its employees "to make intelligent decisions about whether travel is required or whether alternatives and delays are possible.'' The supplier also has launched an Intranet site giving employees updates on air travel airline-by-airline, FAA requirements and new security measures.

TRW Inc. has advised its employees to use their judgment when it is feasible to travel.

-- Staff reporters Julie Cantwell, Gail Kachadourian and John D. Stoll contributed to this report

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