In Europe, reaction to September 11 included shock, outrage, empathy and resolve. Terrorism and the threat of violence have been staples of the European consciousness for decades. Whether it’s the Irish Republican Army in the UK or radical Islamic militants in Germany, Europeans have had to be far more conscious than Americans of the terror threat.
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) airport directors are being assigned to 450 of the busiest U.S. airports used by the airlines. These officials are responsible for TSA employees at those airports as well as for airport security provisions. Business aviation and other general aviation associations are encouraging their members to develop
a rapport with their TSA airport directors, so as to increase their understanding of
Security comes from a combination of policy, procedure and technology–nuts and bolts. All three have received their fair share of attention since September 11, but the demand for security hardware is the most tangible manifestation of how aviation has changed. Pre-existing examples of technology–from sophisticated electronic surveillance systems to simple wheel locks–have been improved.
• Is the hangar/FBO property fenced off from the street and from adjoining unsecured property?
The focus for flight departments since September 11 has tended to be on corporate aircraft as potential weapons, because that is what has most concerned the security fraternity in government. But is the corporate aircraft more vulnerable as a target itself?
A few days after last September 11 it became apparent that the FAA and even the Department of Transportation did not have much say in aviation security matters. Both FAA Administrator Jane Garvey and Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta admitted as much in congressional hearings one week later.
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 Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is in the process of contacting air taxi operators regulated by the Twelve-Five Standard Security Program (TFSSP) to conduct security inspections. TSA principal security inspectors (PSIs) will hold interviews with aircraft operator security coordinators and review the procedures employed to check passengers.
Business aviation may win a few more converts as a result of the most recent Transportation Security Administration (TSA) edict expanding the use of manual pat-down searches during “secondary” screening.