AOPA on Feb. 5 joined three other general aviation associations in formally requesting that the Transportation Security Administration halt its work on a plan to impose airline-like security on GA and form a rulemaking committee that would allow the TSA to work directly with industry to identify effective, less burdensome security enhancements.
The TSA’s proposed Large Aircraft Security Program would require anyone who operates an aircraft with a maximum weight exceeding 12,500 pounds to, among other things, perform criminal background checks on all flight crew members; vet all passengers, even family members, against terrorist watch lists; and submit to biennial audits of their security arrangements by a third-party auditor.
In a letter signed by the presidents of AOPA, the Experimental Aircraft Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, and the National Business Aviation Association, the groups said, “[T]he proposals put forth in the LASP Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) will do little to improve general aviation security and will have disastrous consequences on the industry.”
The presidents continued, “Creation of a dedicated workgroup would allow industry and the TSA to work together on requirements that would simultaneously enhance general aviation security and facilitate general aviation operations. A rulemaking committee would provide a secure forum for stakeholder information sharing and the development of sensible and implementable measures.”
GA, the leaders noted, has led, not followed, when it comes to aviation security.
“We take a back seat to no one in our commitment to security, and our actions to date have demonstrated that fact,” they wrote.
The TSA is accepting public comment on the proposed rule until Feb. 27. For assistance submitting your comments, see AOPA’s member action center.
In recent comments, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano acknowledged the concerns raised by GA but did not indicate what action the TSA might take to address the concerns.