A Decade Later, TSA Officially Drops LASP

 - January 18, 2018, 11:54 AM
The Transportation Security Administration has quietly withdrawn a rule that the business aviation community said would have imposed “new, onerous, and largely unworkable security regulations" on general aviation aircraft weighing more than 12,500 pounds. (Photo: Gulfstream)

Nearly a decade after the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) introduced the Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP) and was met with an outpouring of opposition, the agency has quietly withdrawn the rule. NBAA noted its official withdrawal, saying that, as originally written, the rule would have imposed “new, onerous, and largely unworkable security regulations on general aviation.” Instead, the association said, the business aviation community is continuing to work with the agency on risk-based initiatives.

Designed for aircraft weighing more than 12,500 pounds, LASP called for flight crew criminal history record checks, the cross-check of passenger names against no-fly and selectee lists, compliance with the prohibited items list for scheduled airlines, and security program audits, among other requirements. General aviation groups called the requirements unworkable and warned the TSA that the program would have “disastrous” consequences on the industry.

Opposition increased so much that Congress got involved, pressuring the agency to revise it. The TSA agreed to rewrite the rule, and it had languished at the agency since.

TSA leaders since had acknowledged the rule needed changing, including the previous administrator, Peter Neffenger, who had called the rule too prescriptive and said he wanted to open a dialog with the business aviation community and work more collaboratively.

The more collaborative approach has been widely welcomed by business aviation leaders. “NBAA and its members remain fully committed to promoting appropriate, reasonable, risk-based security measures for general aviation, and in the 10 years since LASP was introduced, the industry has demonstrated a record of compliance with very sophisticated, voluntary, and mandatory security measures,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen. “We look forward to continuing our work with the TSA, Congress, and security experts on additional collaborative efforts.”

Working through an industry/government Aviation Security Advisory Committee, the business and general aviation community and the TSA have progressed on issues such as the revision of general aviation airport security guidelines, a review of flight-training security procedures, and more recently, possible updates to the Twelve-Five Standard Security and Private Charter Standard Security Programs.

The move to drop the LASP was no surprise. Few, if any, industry leaders expected to see the program resurrected anytime in the near future, and most believed its fate was further sealed by the ongoing regulatory review required by the Trump administration.