NBAA President and CEO
Ed Bolen appeared Thursday before a Senate panel to outline the
variety of security measures adopted by the general aviation
industry since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and to underscore
the industry's continuing commitment to pursuing effective security
initiatives. Bolen's remarks were made before a hearing of the
Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee to assess
general aviation security in the airspace over the Washington,
D.C., metropolitan area.
Bolen expressed appreciation to the members of the Committee for
their ongoing support of efforts to reopen Reagan National Airport
to general aviation, and he commended officials at DHS, TSA, the
Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation
Administration for their leadership on the issue.
He called the plan introduced last month by the Department of
Homeland Security (DHS) and Transportation Security Administration
(TSA) to resume general aviation operations at Ronald Reagan
Washington National Airport "an important first step" in
normalizing operations at the airport.
"The TSA and DHS deserve a lot of credit for coming forward with
a plan for general aviation at Reagan National Airport," Bolen
"But even they recognize that the current plan represents only a
beginning, and that it ultimately will need to be expanded to more
cities and made more workable. TSA officials have stated that they
will continue to review the plan and make adjustments as necessary,
and we are committed to working with the Agency it implements and
refines the program. We also hope that, among the positive effects
of restoring general aviation at Reagan National Airport, will be a
constructive dialogue on how security-qualified operators might be
able to access areas with Temporary Flight Restrictions."
Bolen added that, in
addition to the work done to enhance security at Reagan National
Airport, the general aviation community has remained focused on the
security of airspace and airports across the country.
Bolen listed several security enhancements resulting from
efforts by the general aviation community and the government,
including a program to report suspicious activity, a requirement
for government-issued photo IDs for flight crews, and new
procedures for airport and hangar security. "These and other
actions have reduced the vulnerability of general aviation aircraft
to terrorist activity," Bolen said.
Bolen also referred to a security initiative NBAA has supported,
called the Transportation Security Administration Access
The program, which is being developed by TSA, includes new
voluntary security procedures for personnel, facilities, aircraft
and in-flight operations. Broader implementation of TSAAC would
enhance security and could be used to enhance access to currently
restricted airspace. Last month, the House Homeland Security
Appropriations Subcommittee included language in spending bill
encouraging TSA to move forward on development of TSAAC.
Bolen concluded by observing that the coming years will require
a continuing focus on security. "If there is one thing that I want
to leave you with today, it is that we are committed to working
with the government to implement reasonable and effective security
programs. Only through trust and cooperation with our government
partners will we be able to create a reasonable and effective
security environment for airports and airspace here in the
Washington area and across the country."