As part of a broader piece of legislation to increase aviation security since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Congress is considering a measure that would address growing concerns about international flights by establishing passenger reporting requirements for foreign-registered general aviation aircraft entering the United States. It also would require the Transportation Security Administration to conduct threat or vulnerability assessments at GA airports and authorize a federal funding program for security improvements at GA airports.
"This bill is still working its way through process," said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs, "but AOPA is working with legislators and the TSA to ensure that anything enacted into law can be implemented in a manner that doesn't establish unreasonable security mandates."
AOPA has started talking to the TSA about what a threat and vulnerability assessment program should look like and how some existing security efforts could be utilized.
"We worked successfully with the TSA in the past to develop a set of voluntary security guidelines for GA airports that would lend themselves to the development of a threat assessment tool," Cebula said. "The main point we are emphasizing to TSA officials is that a one-size-fits-all approach won't work."
As written, the legislation would also allow a funding program to provide grants to GA airports for security enhancements. AOPA will work to ensure that the program accurately assesses the needs of GA airports and distributes the funds accordingly.
The bill has been approved by the House and Senate and has been sent to conference committee to iron out differences between the two versions of the bill.
April 3, 2007