TSA Plan Would Sharply Complicate Operations for All GA Aircraft Weighing 12,500 Pounds or More

 - October 9, 2008, 11:22 AM

The TSA today released a notice of proposed rulemaking for its Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP), which would require all U.S. operators of aircraft exceeding 12,500 pounds mtow to implement security programs that would be subject to compliance audits. Notably, the proposed regulation would require operators to verify that passengers are not on the “no fly” and/or “selectee” portions of the U.S. government’s consolidated terrorist watch list. Additional requirements include fingerprint-based criminal history records and terrorist name checks for flight crewmembers; designated security coordinators; and check/validate property on board for unauthorized persons and accessible weapons. “General aviation operators are excellent security partners, and this will give them a strong common framework for security that will reduce risk while supporting the open nature of the general aviation industry,” said TSA Administrator Kip Hawley. AOPA “expressed concern” that the proposed rule could have “serious implications” on general aviation. “This proposed rule is an unprecedented imposition of security requirements on the [GA] community affecting 10,000 individual operators and hundreds of airports,” said AOPA executive vice president of government affairs Andy Cebula. Meanwhile, NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen said his organization is still studying the 260-page document “to ensure it reflects the twin needs for security and mobility that are hallmarks of business aviation.” He added, “We will review it carefully, consulting with NBAA’s Security Council and coordinating with our members to comment on this plan. Based on an initial review, we expect to file substantial comments on the proposal.” GAMA, too, is reviewing the TSA document, though association president and CEO Pete Bunce said, “Our initial read of the NPRM concerns us in that some very burdensome requirements may not provide commensurate security benefits to an already safe and secure industry.” Today’s proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register and open to public comment for 60 days via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal.