Airport management has questions, and AOPA has answers. In an ongoing effort to put to rest alleged security concerns at New York's Republic Airport, the association, with the help of local pilots, has put together detailed information to explain why vehicles should have access to the ramp area. In a letter ( download) to the airport director, AOPA said that more general aviation airports allow vehicle access than restrict it. Airport tenants pay for access and need to efficiently transfer baggage and passengers to their aircraft. Also, they use their vehicles to preheat their aircraft during the winter or carry tools for required preventive maintenance. AOPA believes that rather than prohibiting all motor vehicles on the ramp, there should be a comprehensive training program designed to highlight areas of conflict between cars and aircraft. And there should be a progressive enforcement program for driving violations. 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. New security measures for controlling access at the airport, as well as the expanded use of AOPA's proven Airport Watch Program, will help the entire airport by relying on commonsense solutions rather than unnecessary, sweeping access restrictions on tenants.
March 16, 2007