AOPA fights against sporting interests' attempt to dictate airspace policy

September 25, 2002

The Honorable
House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Congressman:

You recently received a "dear colleague" letter from Congressman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) stating his intention to introduce legislation this week that in his words would "keep aircraft away from stadiums." I am writing you about his letter on behalf of the over 385,000 members of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) with ____ members residing in _____ .

Rep. Upton makes some very good points in his letter about changes reflected in the security experienced by those attending events in sports stadiums and other events. AOPA doesn't disagree about the need for added aviation security over defined events and at defined times. However, AOPA urges you to oppose the Upton legislation that may be offered during the full committee mark-up of the fiscal year 2003 Department of Transportation Appropriations bill this Thursday:

  • At this writing both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have a draft notice that offers such stadium airspace protection
  • The notice addresses Congressman Upton's concerns
  • For several months AOPA has been working on a process for addressing security issues around major sporting events with FAA and TSA, the two Department of Transportation agencies. Don't undo the work that has gone into the pending federal notice
  • This is an aviation security issue. Let's not allow the NFL, major league baseball, college sports, and others to couple their honest security concerns with an opportunity to solve a competitive business issue by dictating federal airspace policy
  • Let's leave this regulation in the hands of the two congressionally mandated regulators!

AOPA is convinced that Rep. Upton's legislation is not needed to achieve the desired result. The current effort ready for implementation includes a means of identifying events affected, timing of the events, and procedures for using the airports located within close proximity of major sporting events. Failure to properly evaluate and issue appropriate restrictions, as Rep. Upton proposes, jeopardizes the viability of the air transportation service available in many communities.

We urge you to reject Rep. Upton's measure and allow the TSA and FAA to ensure the safety and security of the air transportation community.

Sincerely,

Phil Boyer

September 25, 2002