With an effective deadline of June 1 looming, five trade associations sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano asking her to withdraw a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) directive that mandates identification badges to gain access to certain parts of airports that serve airlines–regardless of the number and frequency of flights.
A provision that would establish a general aviation working group to advise the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on GA security issues is contained in the TSA Authorization Act expected to pass the House of Representatives before it adjourns tomorrow. The working group will look at security issues for general aviation facilities, including GA aircraft and helicopter operations at general aviation and commercial service airports.
Following bungled security inspections of general aviation facilities at Nashville International Airport and Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Conn., the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) significantly changed “Operation Playbook,” a controversial security program for GA introduced through a pilot program last year.
The Transportation Security Administration is revising its “Operation Playbook” security program, which seeks to work with airline airports used by general aviation operators to develop a security protocol that keeps terrorists guessing at security tactics. The Playbook was introduced as a pilot program last year, but industry concerns about questionable TSA inspections at FBOs led to the TSA updating the program.
Now that the former Washington, D.C. air defense identification zone–renamed the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area Special Flight Rules Area–has become permanent, general aviation can turn its eyes to other security actions.
The Transportation Security Administration’s Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP) proposal has received criticism from industry groups and operators of helicopters weighing more than 12,500 pounds. Operators have called the proposal “oppressive” and have expressed concern about the future of general aviation security.
After news broke last week of the Transportation Security Administration’s unauthorized inspections of Nashville (Tenn.) Airport pilots and employees and their baggage, concern about the TSA’s plans for random screening at FBOs has grown. A TSA document called the Playbook apparently outlines the procedures for random screenings at general aviation facilities, and NBAA has expressed concerns about planned Playbook-related actions.
NBAA, AOPA, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) late last week sent a joint letter to the TSA urging the agency to establish a rulemaking committee to address questions and concerns raised by industry and government about the TSA’s proposed Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP).
Transportation Security Administration officials conducted unauthorized screening of passengers and flight crew at FBOs at Nashville International Airport in December and January, according to NBAA. The screening included checking “a number of pilots and passengers with wands and actual baggage searches,” NBAA vice president of safety, security and regulation Doug Carr noted in an e-mail to members.
A new measure to open up defense procurement by European countries to greater competition will become law within the next 18 months. The European Parliament approved the European Directive on Defence and Security Procurement on January 14. This should greatly increase the percentage of defense contract opportunities that EU governments offer to bidders from other European countries.