TSA, DHS open dialogue with GA community on security

July 29, 2010

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Transportation Security Administration Administrator John Pistole got a glimpse at the heart of general aviation at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., this week. It was the first time that the two—and anyone in those positions—had been to the show, which brings together thousands of GA pilots from around the world.

During their visit at Oshkosh, the two met with AOPA and other GA associations and industry leaders to reaffirm their commitment to solve GA security issues and maintain an open dialogue with the industry. They put their words into practice during the meeting, discussing key issues that each GA representative brought up. AOPA stressed the need for a streamlined temporary flight restriction process that included GA, and Cessna called on DHS and the TSA to see the pilot population as part of the solution rather than the problem.

After the meeting, Napolitano and Pistole announced a streamlined process for non-U.S.-registered aircraft to fly into the United States. Previously, those aircraft needed to receive an international waiver and complete the Custom and Border Protection’s Electronic Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS). Because eAPIS requires the same information as the waiver, the TSA will do away with its international waiver requirements. The streamlined process will go into effect Sept. 1.

“We are encouraged to see TSA and CBP collaborating to streamline the process for our members and eliminate unnecessary paperwork and redundant procedures,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. “This decision demonstrates their commitment to improving the efficiency of the system for all users, and we look forward to working with both agencies to identify additional opportunities for improvement.”

In another major announcement, Napolitano encouraged the GA community to participate in a transportation-wide “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign. The campaign is similar to AOPA’s Airport Watch Program, in that it stresses the importance of community awareness and vigilance. The campaign also encourages people to call the same toll-free hotline as Airport Watch (866/GA-SECURE).