If all goes as planned, general aviation will be flying into DCA by the end of this month, according to Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Michael Jackson. In a meeting yesterday with AOPA and other industry leaders, Jackson outlined a six-point restoration plan that will require that pilots be subject to background checks, advance clearance of passenger lists, screening of passengers and aircraft, and full compliance with special air traffic flight procedures. The plan does include procedures sought by AOPA to accommodate individual pilots who fly into the airport.
During the course of the meeting, AOPA staff emphasized to the deputy secretary the importance of restoring general aviation to the other three Washington-area airports.
"AOPA considers this milestone significant, not only because it provides general aviation access to DCA but because it also bolsters AOPA's efforts to restore access to the three remaining Washington-area airports that still prohibit transient GA operations," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. Those airports are College Park, Potomac, and Hyde Field.
At a congressional hearing today, the DOT and FAA were expected to tell Congress that they are finalizing this DCA plan and working closely with industry to restore general aviation operations to the airport.
Jackson ended the meeting by telling industry leaders that "flying into DCA is a privilege, and pilots are expected to take the security requirements very seriously or risk losing access into the airport and possible certificate action."
AOPA also used the opportunity to raise concerns to the FAA regarding the 18 remaining security TFRs around the country that continue to impact general aviation operations. "Restoring general aviation access to the three Washington airports and elimination of the security TFRs are high priorities for AOPA and its members," said Boyer.