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September 11 – 20 year Associate reflection

“We have overcome many trials and tribulations and still come together stronger than ever”


This weekend marks the horrific event that shook our nation, our industry and our Company in unimaginable ways. 9/11 is a day that many of us recall very vividly, imagining at the time that air travel may never recover. But just as resilient as our nation was, our industry came back stronger than ever—due to the strength of the people within it. 

To recognize the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, our Associates who were at the heart of our airline’s operations that day shared stories of that resilience and community – ensuring every member of our airline family was safe in a time of so much unknown.

Two associates look towards computer monitor in the SOC while one individual points toward a detail on the monitor.

Two Republic Airways Associates look towards a computer monitor in the SOC.

Crew Scheduling Coordinator Denesé Pierson has been with Republic for 22 years. On September 11, 2001, she was working in scheduling at the Indianapolis International Airport. She recalls:  

“Dispatch advised us of aircraft hitting the World Trade Towers. Captain Thomas Huygen was flying into LGA and saw the Towers being hit. Captain Huygen’s crew landed the aircraft safely and got a rental car to make the drive back to CMH. The atmosphere following was very somber, and our airline Chautauqua was down for approximately 2 to 3 days. We all were in disbelief; it was amazing to look up in the sky and not see any signs of an airplane. 

Chautauqua did an excellent job of taking care of the employees. We supported our crew members by listening to them and making sure everyone was in a safe location.” 



Manager of Crew Member Support Nakescha Cody has been at Republic Airways for 21 years. At the time of 9/11, she was a Crew Scheduling Coordinator working the afternoon shift. Her reflection: 

“I was getting ready for work when breaking news came across the TV screen. I was in shock and immediately called into work to check on everyone and get a feel for what I was about to walk into. 

The atmosphere during the following days was humbling and sad. We had crew members out of place, planes out of place, crew members scrambling to get rental cars or bus and train tickets all in an effort to get home to their families. There were even communities at that time offering shelter to airline crews that were stuck.  

Republic adapts well in the face of adversity, tragedy and other sources of stress. When knocked down or faced with tragedy, this Company always comes back together stronger than before. 

Nakescha supported her crews out on the field by being that familiar voice of comfort and willingness to do whatever it took to get them home to their families.  

She added, “I have worked in the System Operations Control (SOC) my entire aviation career, and the crew members are like family as we speak to most of them on a weekly, if not daily, basis. I knew that they depended on us to be their eyes, ears and assistance to get them home or to a place where they felt safe and comfortable.”  

When asked how she’ll recognize 9/11 this year, Nakescha shared, “Like I do everyday— starting and ending the day with prayer for everyone, especially those that lost their lives during 9/11.” 



Crew Scheduling Coordinator Julie MacLaughlin works at her desk in Republic Airways’ SOC, September 2021

Crew Scheduling Coordinator Julie MacLaughlin has been with our airline for over 30 years. Julie reflects on what life was like on September 11, 2001:  

“At that time, we worked on the second floor of the old Indianapolis International Airport. After hearing the news, chaos set in. I could hardly believe what had just happened; I was pregnant with my first child at the time, and it was absolutely terrifying.  

I’ll never forget one of our pilots, Paul Moorhead. I worked with Paul when I was a ticket agent at JHW (Jamestown, NY) airport in the 90s. In the early morning of 9/11, Paul called and said he needed to call off for his trip that day because his wife had an eerie feeling and she didn’t want him flying. Little did we know what was about to happen would change the world forever.  

The atmosphere of the airline during the following days was very surreal. Our operations were immediately moved from the airport to the Holiday Inn close by; there was no back-up SOC at the time. Planes were left places, we rented cars and our crews drove for hours to get home safe to their families. We didn’t know what was going to happen. I wondered, “Would we close our doors for good?” 

It’s hard to explain, but airline industry workers stick together always. We have overcome many trials and tribulations and still come together stronger than ever. Our family has always been supportive of one another. What happened that day humbled me; I am grateful for EVERYTHING.” 

For the victims of 9/11 and the family and friends who lost loved ones, we will never forget.