The Transportation Security Administration’s Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP) is just as unpopular with Alaska state legislators as it is with pilots. The proposal, which would impose commercial air carrier security procedures on aircraft weighing more than 12,500 pounds, has raised a storm of opposition that has spread to America’s largest state.
State Sen. Gene Therriaut and Rep. Mike Kelly introduced identical resolutions in the Senate and House this week, expressing the legislature’s opposition to the TSA proposal. AOPA Alaska Regional Representative Tom George met with lawmakers in Juneau before the votes to explain the impact of the TSA program on GA aircraft and to support the resolutions, which urge the TSA to drop consideration of the costly and burdensome proposal. ( See AOPA’s letter to Kelly.)
The resolutions are awaiting Gov. Sarah Palin’s signature, and AOPA President Craig Fuller has reached out to the governor to urge her to oppose the TSA plan.
“Nowhere is general aviation more critical to transportation than in Alaska,” said Fuller, “and the state legislature has demonstrated it understands just how much Alaskans depend on their aircraft. Now we need Governor Palin to add her voice.”
Fuller noted that the resolutions recognize GA’s multi-million dollar contribution to the Alaskan economy and bode well for AOPA’s efforts to propose alternatives to the security program.
“The LASP’s ‘one size fits all’ approach fails to address the significant differences between commercial air carrier operations and general aviation,” Fuller added. “The state of Alaska’s strong stand against the LASP should demonstrate to the TSA that this proposal is as unwise as it is unpopular. We hope this will encourage the TSA to work with us to find a more effective method of enhancing security without imposing crippling costs on GA operations.”
AOPA also worked with Alaska’s delegation in the U.S. Congress to draft a letter to the Department of Homeland Security calling for the TSA to postpone implementation of the LASP in order to involve industry stakeholders in the process.