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Thu, Oct 09, 2008

NBAA, GAMA Weigh In On TSA Large Aircraft Security NPRM

New TSA Proposal Must Balance Security With Mobility

Add two more aviation "letter groups" to the list of those which plan to carefully review Thursday's notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) issued by the Transportation Security Administration, regarding sweeping changes to security requirements on all aircraft over 12,500 lbs MTOW.

Noting his organization has worked with TSA officials for many months to educate the agency on the requirements of business aviation operators -- as well as the many voluntary security programs already undertaken by many of those companies -- Ed Bolen, president and CEO of the National Business Aviation Association, said NBAA will scrutinize the 260-page NPRM, to ensure it reflects the twin needs for security and mobility that are hallmarks of business aviation.

"We've been discussing the TSA's security plans with our members, and keeping them apprised of our ongoing efforts to maintain that vital balance between the need to strengthen aviation security and to preserve the mobility and flexibility that are at the foundation of business aviation," Bolen (above) said. "We will review [the NPRM] carefully, consulting with NBAA's Security Council and coordinating with our members to comment on this plan.

"Based on an initial review, we expect to file substantial comments on the proposal," Bolen added.

As ANN reported, the proposed TSA regulations would cover aircraft with a maximum certified takeoff weight (MTOW) above 12,500 pounds, and the general aviation (GA) airports that serve these larger aircraft. Known as the Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP), the TSA plan includes security training for flight crews, periodic security audits for operators, and requirements for GA and other airports that service large aircraft.

NBAA plans to conduct a series of Town Hall meetings across the country to solicit Member input.

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) also weighed in on the NPRM, with GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce noting "the security of the US and global aviation system is of utmost concern to the general aviation industry. Therefore, we appreciate that the TSA has undertaken a rulemaking process which will allow for comment from the members of our industry.

"GAMA will be reviewing this NPRM to ensure that it addresses potential security risks with methods of compliance that do not restrict the utility of general aviation aircraft," Bunce said. "Measured against this standard, our initial read of the NPRM concerns us in that some very burdensome requirements may not provide commensurate security benefits to an already safe and secure industry."

In a note of measure optimism, Bunce added, "We look forward to continued participation in this deliberative process, constructively working with TSA and other stakeholders to meet legitimate security concerns in effective, practical ways."

FMI: http://web.nbaa.org/public/ops/security/, www.gama.aero

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