Pilots concerned about badge requirements at commercial airports

February 24, 2009

The Transportation Security Administration has extended the deadline for a controversial security directive that would require security badges and background checks for all general aviation pilots based at air carrier airports. The TSA will meet with industry representatives to consider alternatives and to find solutions better suited to GA.

“Pilots are very concerned about the TSA action,” said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. “The TSA must realize that pilots have a vested interest. Our goal is to work with the TSA to ensure pilots’ need for access at commercial airports is addressed.”

The decision to push the deadline for compliance back to June 1 will allow the TSA to incorporate industry input and come up with guidance for airports that minimize the SD’s impact on GA operators and airports.

The information was released in a conference call today with operators, representatives from airports, and other GA organizations. AOPA will be working with the TSA in the next few days to explore options for keeping airports secure while minimizing the burden on pilots.

As airports across the country have been implementing the new security measures, AOPA members have been frustrated by the changing requirements and limited access to information about the SD. AOPA expects the industry-TSA collaboration to produce clear guidelines that take into account the rules’ impact on operators and airports.