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Congressional bill threatens GA with expensive security mandatesCongressional bill threatens GA with expensive security mandates

Congressional bill threatens GA with expensive security mandates

Capitol

Mandatory written security plans, fencing for every airport, and double locks on every aircraft are just three of the provisions in the latest legislative attempt to impose onerous security standards on GA, but the measure faces a long road before it could become law.

Rep. John Sweeney (R-NY) on Thursday introduced a bill (H.R. 3397) that would impose mandatory federal security rules on every GA airport, pilot, aircraft, and hangar—a move that AOPA strongly opposes. The bill was introduced despite concerns raised by AOPA.

"The security needs of a GA airport are not the same as those of an airport served by the airlines," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Mandating that they follow similar rules makes no sense."

Among other provisions, the bill would require all GA airports, including private-use airports, to be fenced; all aircraft to be double locked with an internal and an external lock; and all hangars to be locked when not in use. In addition every public- and private-use airport would have to register with the Department of Homeland Security and submit to local law enforcement agencies a written security plan to be updated every three years. Public-use airports also would have to maintain a log of every transient aircraft for five years, and pilots would be required to verify the identity of all passengers.

"Imposing specific measures like these on every airport would be ridiculously expensive, is unnecessary, and ignores the guiding principle of making investments in security based on risk," said Andy Cebula, AOPA senior vice president of government and technical affairs. "Instead airport owners should work with their local communities to determine what security measures make sense for them. The TSA developed guidelines that can help communities establish standards, but they are meant to be just that—guidelines.""

The legislation faces review by the House Homeland Security Committee. AOPA's legislative affairs staff has already initiated contact with members of that committee as well as the Transportation and Infrastructure committees to express AOPA's objections to Rep. Sweeney's bill.

July 22, 2005

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