The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) last month published its long-awaited rule that establishes the process for undergoing comprehensive background checks by aliens seeking first-time flight training in aircraft with mtow of more than 12,500 pounds. The Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA), signed into law on Nov. 19, 2001, mandated background checks on aliens seeking flight training in large aircraft.
In a letter sent in late April to U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, NBAA expressed “deep concern” regarding the process by which foreign nationals obtain permission for flight training in the U.S.
The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) is offering FAA-approved employee-background verification for FBOs and other airport service businesses. NATA president James Coyne said, “The first line of defense against improper tampering with aircraft is knowing who has access to the airplane, on the ramp, in the hangar or in the shop.
All airport workers with access to airplanes and secure areas have been ordered to submit to new criminal background checks. Employers will also be asked to assist authorities in new criminal background checks of “flight-safety sensitive” personnel. The FAA is requiring the revalidation of all airport IDs to make sure they are current, genuine and correspond to the person carrying them.
The March arrest of two Comair employees and three accomplices for smuggling drugs and guns onto a Delta Air Lines flight from Orlando to San Juan, Puerto Rico understandably raised a lot of questions from the traveling public and, as expected, drew a strong reaction from the Transportation Security Administration.
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