Government officials continue to shine a spotlight on general aviation security. Testifying last week before the House Committee on Homeland Security, DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff said his department would soon unveil a plan to tighten security standards for general aviation aircraft (read: business airplanes) entering the country from overseas.
NBAA today unveiled some long-anticipated potential changes to GA security. New security measures could include required government approval for all flights on a flight-by-flight basis and freedom for the federal government to access internal documents and implement and modify operators’ security procedures.
According to the National Air Transportation Association (NATA), Reps. Don Young (R-Alaska), chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and John Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the house subcommittee on aviation, sent a letter to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) acting Administrator David Stone.
House and Senate bills to require all airport employees with access to secure and sterile areas of an airport to undergo metal detection screening in the same manner as airline passengers is drawing criticism from the National Air Transportation Association (NATA).
Rules that will enable some general aviation operators to resume operations at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) were released last Friday and will go into effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, likely sometime this week. The interim final rule applies to all passenger aircraft operations into or out of DCA, except domestic and foreign airlines.
General aviation interests are encouraged by the appointment of Michal Morgan as Transportation Security Administration (TSA) general manager for general aviation. She previously served as the manager of general aviation for the Office of Operations Policy and the director of special operations for the TSA.
Hanscom Field, Bedford, Mass., is now a gateway airport for companies that want to fly into Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) permits corporate and charter flights to use DCA with certain restrictions, including arrival from one of 19 gateway airports, vetting of flight crews, screening of passengers and carriage of an armed security officer on board.
The U.S. Senate has passed a legislation package addressing many of the 9/11 Commission’s aviation security recommendations that have not yet found their way into law. Notably, the proposed rules would give the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) one year to develop a threat assessment program for general aviation airports, as well as conduct a study on the feasibility of providing grants to these airports for security upgrades.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has released a revised Twelve-Five Standard Security Program (TFSSP), effective March 12. According to the National Air Transportation Association, the agency accepted “very few” of the recommendations the industry made, adding it is “disappointed with the TSA’s failure to correct serious concerns with the TFSSP.”
Last month, Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) and Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) introduced bills to the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, respectively, that would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Transportation to draw up regulations to re-open Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) to general aviation. Such regulations would have to be prepared within six months of the bill becoming law.