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.
Sensitive Security Information
Federal guidelines for improving security at the nation’s more than 18,000 general aviation airports remain bottled up in the Transportation Security Administration almost six months after a GA airport security working group made its recommendations to the agency.
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.”
President Bush Tuesday signed into law a homeland security spending bill that includes language directing the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to work with industry to expand the transportation security administration access certificate (TSAAC), a voluntary general aviation security program.
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.
Adm. James Loy, administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), has been promoted to second-in-command at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). He was selected over other higher-ranking officials in the Cabinet department.
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) boss Kip Hawley told a Senate panel that in addition to general aviation’s voluntary efforts to secure GA, the TSA was doing more screening of pilots and studying the “throw weight” of GA aircraft to determine the potential for causing harm. Currently, aircraft weighing 12,500 pounds or more used in scheduled or charter service must operate under the Twelve-Five Standard Security Program.
Congress granted an additional 30 days (to April 1) for federal security agencies to submit a report on actions that would be required to open Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport to general aviation. The report was supposed to have been completed by March 1.
An FBI/Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report that made only a few passing references to general aviation aircraft being used by terrorists nevertheless provided fodder for newspapers and broadcast news media for several days last month and prompted general aviation interest groups to activate extensive damage control.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is now expected to issue an informational circular early this spring on security recommendations for general aviation landing facilities. Pam Hamilton, TSA director of aviation initiatives, said the agency hopes to issue the informational circular by March or April, although it could conceivably come sooner.