GA not affected by new security procedures, for now

January 14, 2010

As air carrier airports continue to work through the increased security measures announced by President Barack Obama last week, general aviation seems to have escaped unscathed. The security measures, put into place after the failed airline bombing attempt on Dec. 25, include strengthened terrorist watch lists, whole body imaging, and more.

“AOPA is working closely with the Transportation Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security to ensure that GA is not adversely affected as the agencies work to increase airport security,” said Craig Spence, AOPA vice president of operations and international affairs. “Although GA played no role in the event, it is not uncommon for GA to be caught up and adversely impacted as airports and the TSA make changes to existing processes and procedures.”

A perfect example of the TSA trying to impose airline-style security procedures on GA was the proposed Large Aircraft Security Program. AOPA joined with other GA associations, pilots, and members of Congress to successfully convince the TSA to reconsider its proposal. The agency has agreed to go back to the drawing board to create a more workable proposal.

“It’s easy for those who do not understand GA to think that we should follow the same security measures as the airlines, and that’s simply not true. Our airports, our aircraft, our operations are drastically different,” Spence said. “We work every day to try to help government officials understand the nature of GA airports and operations and security practices that are already practiced nationwide.”