AOPA was hard at work behind the scenes in New York this month to guard against unreasonable, state-imposed security regulations for GA airports. Tuesday night, a large anti-terrorism bill that had included some GA provisions died in the state assembly for lack of political support in the face of an impending deadline for taking action on legislative initiatives. AOPA Regional Representative Craig Dotlo had met with Gov. George Pataki's senior aides and legislators on Friday to reinforce general aviation's position on security. The New York Assembly will likely reconsider anti-terrorism legislation next January.
Dotlo told the governor's staff and key lawmakers that the federal government has not identified general aviation airports or aircraft as a specific security threat to the United States. He also said that the federal government has the primary responsibility for regulating aviation safety and security. The federal government is using temporary airspace restrictions - such as those that will be in place during the Republican National Convention in New York City - as its most effective tool for ensuring security around events and people that might be targets for terrorism.
AOPA recommended that New York circulate the Transportation Security Administration's Guidelines for General Aviation Airports to communities with general aviation facilities. Those guidelines were developed in conjunction with the aviation industry and help communities implement security measures appropriate to the particular airport and its users.
The association reminded New York leaders that because vigilance is an essential element of any security initiative, AOPA's Airport Watch program should be put into place at each general aviation airport.
June 24, 2004