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Tue, May 18, 2004

TSA Releases New Security Guidelines for General Aviation Airports

Agency Outlines Targeted Security Enhancements for Wide Range of GA Airports

Rear Adm. David M. Stone, Acting Administrator for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), announced Monday the release of the TSA's "Security Guidelines for General Aviation Airports." The guidelines are intended to provide US general aviation (GA) airport owners, operators and users with a set of federally endorsed security enhancements and methods for implementation.

"This is an important step toward ensuring the appropriate levels of security for GA airports and reflects the power of effective partnership," said Admiral Stone (USN Ret.). "The new guidelines were developed from industry best practices and provide a tool for operators to assess an airport's characteristics and determine which security enhancements are suitable. Both TSA and the GA community agree that a single approach to security will not cover the spectrum of the nation's GA airports."

The guidelines contain the Airport Characteristics Measurement Tool that helps to define unique security needs for differing airports. It is designed to be self-administered by airport operators, allowing them to assess an airport's security characteristics and determine which enhancements are most appropriate. The guidelines address the security needs of both small privately owned landing strips in rural areas as well as large corporate GA airports in major metropolitan areas. For example, at a high volume GA airport with longer runways near a sensitive site with a large number of aircraft, the guidelines suggest security measures that include perimeter control, video surveillance, alarm system, airfield lighting, identification credentials, proper aircraft locking mechanisms, emergency preparedness plans, and airport community watch programs. Because these guidelines were developed from industry best practices, many GA airports already have some or all of these measures in place.

In the document, the TSA says it "has not taken a position that GA airports and aircraft are a threat, in and of themselves. However, as vulnerabilities within other areas of aviation have been reduced, GA may be perceived as a more attractive target and consequently more vulnerable to misuse by terrorists. TSA believes that the security guidelines outlined in this document will help airport managers and aircraft operators determine which security measures they should take at their particular facility to reduce vulnerabilities and encourage the adoption of consistent and appropriate security measures across the nation. TSA also believes that these security guidelines must be federally endorsed to discourage a hodgepodge of state and local guidelines."

FMI: TSA GA Airport Security Guidelines, www.tsa.gov

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