Aircraft operating from Folsom Field will be monitored a little more closely in the wake of national alerts issued by the FBI and Homeland Security.

Officials with the FBI and Homeland Security issued a nationwide warning about al-Qaeda threats to small planes this past weekend, just days before the anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

Bob Burns, manager of the Cullman Regional Airport, confirmed that his office received the national alert bulletins, which were issued to airports and law enforcement agencies across the country.

“They basically said we should keep an eye out for suspicious activity, like someone loading (explosives) onto an airplane,” Burns said. “We already keep the airport well-monitored. There are cameras constantly running and we pretty much know who the regular traffic is.

“Plus, we have state police stationed here, along with local police and AirEvac. If anyone was to try anything, we’d be able to identify them.”

According to the Associated Press, the five-page law enforcement bulletin issued Friday said al-Qaeda was considering ways to use airplanes in an attack — possibly even renting small private planes and loading them with explosives.

Counting “touch-and-goes,” Burns said approximately 50-60 aircraft fly out of Cullman Regional Airport on an average day. That includes planes being used by Wallace State for its aviation classes.

Read more on this story in the Wednesday, September 7, 2011 print edition of The Cullman Times or subscribe to the E-edition and have it emailed to you.

* Justin Graves can be reached by phone at 734-2131, ext. 225 or by email at justing@cullmantimes.com.

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