The FAA has published a final rule [ text | PDF] extending the expiration date for SFAR 94 around Washington, D.C., until February 13, 2005. That suggests the 15-nautical-mile "no fly" zone around the nation's capital may become permanent. According to the rule, the extension has been implemented to allow the government additional time to analyze current security threats and develop contingency plans and procedures. In addition, the FAA states that based on information received from intelligence agencies, the SFAR is necessary to protect the key assets and infrastructure in the Washington area from airborne attacks.
"While AOPA is not surprised by this extension, we have deep concerns about the long-term viability of the three airports directly impacted by the SFAR," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "As I told Admiral Shkor, chief operating officer of TSA, on Monday, it is time the federal agencies directly involve the general aviation community in the development of security plans and procedures, considering the insurmountable economic impact of the current restrictions." The rule acknowledges AOPA's petition for rulemaking requesting provisions to allow inter-airport and transient operations at the "DC-3" airports.