The Transportation Security Administration confirmed to general aviation organizations that a new proposal for GA security will not target small airports. Instead, the plan is expected to concentrate on aircraft.
During the American Association of Airport Executives Aviation Security Summit near Washington early last month, TSA assistant administrator John Sammon said that a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM) working its way through the TSA would reflect input from GA stakeholders during industry working group meetings held in 2009.
The TSA is working on a new GA security proposal after deciding in June 2009 to go back to the drawing board on its proposed Large Aircraft Security Program due to pressure from Congress and more than 8,000 public comments from the GA community.
The original plan, unveiled in late 2008, would have applied commercial air carrier security measures to GA aircraft weighing more than 12,500 pounds, regardless of the type of operation. GA associations maintained that the proposal was burdensome and costly, calling as it did for crewmember criminal record checks, watch list matching of passenger manifests, biennial third-party audits of each aircraft operator and new airport security requirements.
Although no new deadline for release of the SNPRM has been established, it is widely expected that the new proposal will increase the weight threshold and do away with calls for third-party audits, watch list matching, federal air marshals on board the aircraft and airport security program requirements. Also, it is believed the proposal will establish "trusted pilots" who have final authority over items and people on the aircraft.