New York law enforcement agencies have expressed security concerns regarding pilots and aircraft owners who drive their vehicles on the ramp at Republic Airport. Airport officials have been unable to provide an acceptable answer to law enforcement inquiries of why vehicle access is allowed. So AOPA met with airport management on February 8 to discuss how to resolve this problem without impeding members' access to the airport. The airport currently requires anyone who will be driving on the ramp to have a key code to get through the gate; they also must have a badge that authorizes their access visible in the vehicle. "This isn't an airline airport, therefore, no access restrictions in the name of security are required. But, even though this is a 'security risk' perceived only by nonaviation law enforcement officials, AOPA is taking their concerns seriously," said AOPA Vice President of Airports Bill Dunn. "AOPA members should do the same and monitor their actions while driving on the ramp." AOPA is addressing the issue with a three-pronged effort: Airport Support Network volunteer Pete McWilliams will work with AOPA members; Northeastern Regional Representative Craig Dotlo will educate state officials about the current security process; and the association's airport staff will conduct research to see what security measures other airports have in place for access to the ramp area.
February 16, 2007