Last updated: 10:44 AM ET, Thu September 24 2015

Airports To Go On Virtual Lockdown for Pope's U.S. Arrival

Airlines & Airports | Rich Thomaselli | September 16, 2015

Airports To Go On Virtual Lockdown for Pope's U.S. Arrival

PHOTO: Pope Francis greets a crowd during a 2014 visit to South Korea. (via Wiki Images/

John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and Philadelphia International Airport will be on virtual lockdown next week when Pope Francis visits the United States.

Although passengers will still be able to fly, heavy security restrictions in and around the airports will be in place.

The Pope begins his U.S. visit on Sept. 22. He will arrive from his visit to Cuba that afternoon at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland and will spend two days in Washington.

He will then depart for New York, arriving at JFK at approximately 5 p.m. EST. It is likely the Pope will arrive at a private area of the airport, as he will do days later in Philadelphia.

A Philadelphia International Airport spokeswoman told USA Today that the Pontiff will arrive and depart from Atlantic Aviation, which services private aircraft, but noted that "Due to security protocol, there will be no arriving or departing flights while Pope Francis is at Atlantic Aviation. It is important to note, however, the Holy Father will not be at Atlantic Aviation for extended periods of time."

The airspace around New York City will be restricted by the Federal Aviation Administration, including a no-fly zone in parts of Manhattan and Queens. Drones cannot be operated anywhere in New York City between Sept. 24 and Sept. 30.

In Philadelphia, they are expecting more than 1 million visitors for the Pope’s visit, and airport officials likened it to Thanksgiving weekend. He arrives in the city of Brotherly Love on Saturday, Sept. 26, at 9:30 a.m.

At the request of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the FAA will also be issuing temporary flight restrictions in Philadelphia as well. The FAA said the restrictions are designed to provide a safe and secure environment for the event but also ensure fair and equitable access to all airspace users to the greatest extent possible.

For more information on Philadelphia

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