With each 9/11 anniversary, we rightly and naturally reflect on loss. First and foremost, of course, the incomprehensible loss of lives and, for the victim’s family and friends, the life they knew before that awful September day.

We also think of our industry – the global commercial air transport industry – in terms of loss. For American and United, the unbearable loss of colleagues doing their duty. For airline and airport employees everywhere, a changed, more stressful work environment that requires new levels of vigilance, and which is still targeted by those who mean harm.

And we think of our personal losses. Minor in comparison, but frustrating. We travelers, on business or pleasure, are constantly reminded of what we can’t do since Sept. 11, 2001.

But in 15 years, we’ve also made many gains that profoundly improve the air transport and travel experience. While these are not all directly related to the after effects of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, they are capabilities and services that we either did not have back in 2001, or were far more limited than in 2016.

In the approach to the 15th anniversary of 9/11, the terrorist attack on the U.S. using hijacked airliners as weapons, ATW’s editors reflect on the commercial air transport industry then and now. Read the special package on ATWOnline.com