Europe Delays Frax Security Ruling

 - September 25, 2006, 8:02 AM

The European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) has deferred a decision on proposed security arrangements for fractional-ownership flights operating into Europe. The Paris-based organization discussed the issue at a meeting on December 7 and 8, but a spokesperson reported that ECAC has not yet reached a final decision.

In late November, ECAC received a proposal from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recommending that European authorities accept the U.S. agency’s requirement that fractional operators adopt the Twelve-Five Standard Security Program. This has been in force in the U.S. since April 1, 2003, and requires all air-taxi operators of aircraft with an mtow of more than 12,500 pounds to implement a TSA-agreed security program.

The European Union’s existing requirement for operators to exercise security screening is limited to aircraft that are operated under a commercial air operator’s certificate and weigh more than 22,045 pounds or have more than 19 passenger seats. However, the UK government has been pushing to have this rule–EU2320–extended to commercially operated aircraft that weigh 5,952 pounds or more.

Most European fractional-ownership operators, including NetJets Europe, have commercial air operator’s certificates. But U.S.-based fractional operators, operate under the quasi-private Part 91K rules. European officials have been concerned about the lack of security requirement for these U.S. aircraft when they fly into Europe.

European Fractional Security

According to NBAA, which supports the TSA proposal that the Europeans accept the TFSSP plan, ECAC responded positively to the American position. Although no final decision came out of the December meeting, there was reportedly detailed discussion on what physical security screening requirements might be.

ECAC represents 42 states, including the 25 countries in the European Union. Its aviation safety regulations are generally adopted by the EU and by the other European governments. ECAC has had a security task force examining security issues relating to fractional-ownership operations for almost a year.

Under the existing EU2320 security regulation, airports and aircraft operators are required to establish “footprint security” with controlled access for crews and passengers, who need to be screened and searched. The rules bar from aircraft cabins any items that could be used as weapons.

The required security footprint can be created either through operating restricted zones at airports or FBOs, or by establishing a temporary footprint around an individual aircraft. Temporary footprints are less expensive and more flexible for many business aviation operations.

The rule also says that those working within the security footprints must wear photo security passes at all times. It requires employees to be trained in threat vigilance, search procedures, reporting and reacting to incidents and establishing a code of practice for crime prevention and reporting.