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MAIL SERVICE UP AND RUNNING, SLOWLY

Sept. 14, 2001 – The territory's mail system is up and running, but residents need to mail early if they want it to depart the same day it’s mailed, Postmaster Louis A. Jackson said Friday.
"We are fully operational," he said.
However, the U.S. Postal Service cannot guarantee that express mail will arrive in the time it normally takes. Jackson said mail leaving here will be flown to the mainland and then trucked across the country to its destination.
He said mail arrived in St. Thomas and St. Croix via chartered plane from Puerto Rico early in the morning. From St. Thomas, it went via barge to St. John.
First-class mail from the mainland is now being transported here by chartered plane. Fourth-class, which includes magazines and catalogues, has always gone by ship.
Delivery of first-class mail between St. Thomas and St. Croix as well as to Puerto Rico and mainland destinations ground to a halt when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
All air traffic was halted until midday Sept. 13. However, the Federal Aviation Administration mandated that no mail or packages could travel on passenger-carrying airlines. There have been no reports of when that prohibition will be lifted.
At Federal Express, assistant manager Mauray George said the company expects flights to begin arriving and departing in St. Thomas and St. Croix on Friday, Sept. 14.
Winston E. Smith, supervisor at United Parcel Service, said he also expects two flights in St. Thomas and St. Croix to arrive and depart on Sept. 14.
"We have packages backed up here," he said.

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