AOPA is putting New York State on notice that the association will oppose ill-considered general aviation airport security measures now being contemplated by both the legislature and the executive branch. In a letter to New York Governor George Pataki, AOPA President Phil Boyer wrote, "We want to express our deep concern about any security initiatives being considered for New York's 145 public-use airports.... Our concern is that the state's action could diffuse federal efforts and be counterproductive to enhancing security, while at the same time damaging - perhaps permanently - the state's economy." That letter reinforces lobbying contacts by Craig Dotlo, AOPA's regional representative in New York.
New York agencies are considering requiring local airports to impose and enforce new security rules that would represent costly, unfunded mandates for the cities and towns operating the airports. That could stunt economic growth. New York airports generate more than $35 billion annually and provide jobs for 347,500 New Yorkers.
AOPA reminded New York's governor that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) did not consider general aviation airports and aircraft to be threats in and of themselves. TSA also acknowledged that "one size fits all" security solutions would not improve aviation security.
Boyer told Pataki that AOPA had taken a proactive, lead role in protecting the nation's general aviation airports with its $700,000 Airport Watch program. And he noted that working in conjunction with TSA and other federal agencies, the general aviation industry had taken numerous steps to enhance GA security.
"AOPA wants to work cooperatively with you, the legislature, and other state and local officials to ensure that New York's general aviation airports are the safest, most secure, and productive in the nation," Boyer concluded.
June 9, 2004