First-Class letters are beginning to take to the air via commercial airliners, the U.S. Postal Service said yesterday.
The agency also announced that a toll-free number is available to help Manhattan residents and businesses obtain their mail, including businesses that were in the World Trade Center buildings.
For residential and small-business customers served by the Bowling Green, Wall Street and Church Street post offices, mail pickup is available at 380 W. 33rd St. between Eighth and Ninth avenues in the General Post Office's (Farley Building) side lobby.
Business mailers that receive large volumes of mail can collect it 24 hours a day, seven days a week at West 31st Street between Eighth and Ninth avenues, truck bays 15-17.
All other customers may obtain their mail Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Post office box holders can pick up mail 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Customers are asked to monitor updates on the postal service's Web site, www.usps.com, or by calling 866/545-USPS . Press 1 for Manhattan information and 2 for national information.
The postal service processes half of the world's mail volume by delivering 650 million pieces daily, with 20 percent to 25 percent of that volume transported by commercial air.
After the Federal Aviation Administration's Sept. 11 order to close the U.S. air transportation network, the USPS expanded its ground transportation network. In addition to using its 210,000-vehicle fleet — the nation's largest — the postal service also expanded use of the 6,000 to 7,000 trucking firms it contracts with daily. The number of vehicles owned by these firms ranges from a few trucks to hundreds. The postal service also expanded the use of Amtrak rail transportation.
Domestically, Express Mail, Priority Mail and First-Class mail began to fly through cargo air networks Sept. 13. Cargo air carriers also have transported international mail.