AOPA has asked the Transportation Security Administration to rescind the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) now that the national terrorist threat level has been reduced to "yellow."
In a letter yesterday to TSA chief operating officer Adm. John E. Shkor, AOPA President Phil Boyer said, "Our members are now asking, 'with the rollback of the threat level, shouldn't the ADIZ be rescinded, and the pre-February 8 conditions be re-instated?'" Noting that previous public communications had indicated that the ADIZ was directly tied to the national threat level of "orange," Boyer asked TSA to cancel the three notams implementing the ADIZ.
"The current ADIZ restrictions place significant financial and operational hardships on the general aviation businesses and operators who are based within the airspace," Boyer told Shkor. "Over the last three weeks, it has become clear that the air traffic control system does not have the resources in place to effectively manage, for extended periods of time, the volume of general aviation traffic requiring access to the ADIZ." Boyer noted that even with the reduced amount of air traffic because of prevailing bad weather, "pilots have had extreme difficulties in gaining access to the airspace."
Boyer said that continuing the ADIZ would require significant investments for infrastructure to handle all of the aircraft needing access. "These [investments] would include at least five new air traffic control towers, as well as 13 additional remote communication outlets (RCOs)."
"On behalf of the nearly 400,000 members of AOPA, I urge you to rescind the ADIZ restrictions immediately," Boyer wrote Shkor. "As always, the association stands ready to communicate these airspace changes to our membership, to avoid any misunderstanding created by the changing conditions."