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Tue, Jun 12, 2007

NBAA's Bolen Defends GA Security In Response To Editorial

Maine Paper Failed To Note General Aviation Contributions To Safer Skies

In response to an article in the Portland (ME) Press Herald about pending Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rules for small aircraft, NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen sent a letter to the editor last week pointing out the extensive work done by general aviation to tighten security in recent years, in voluntary cooperation with federal officials.

"The article, 'More Rules for Planes, Small Boats' (May 25) didn't mention the extensive work done by the general aviation community to tighten security since the 9/11 terrorist attacks," Bolen (shown at right) writes. "As a result, general aviation (GA), which covers all flights except the military and airlines, has enhanced an already strong security environment at GA airports and facilities nationwide.

"Security has always been a top priority for general aviation," Bolen adds. "As federal officials consider new GA security policies, NBAA will continue working with authorities to highlight the effective measures already in place, and ensure an appropriate balance between security and mobility concerns."

Bolen notes shortly following 9/11, "the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) worked with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on an initiative to establish industry-leading security standards for personnel, facilities, aircraft and in-flight operations. This early pilot program, called the Transportation Security Administration Access Certificate (TSAAC), has helped inform and advance the current work being done by the TSA on general aviation security.

Bolen notes an "Airport Watch" program was also created, with a 24-hour, toll-free number to report suspicious activity to TSA officials. He also notes manufacturers have stepped up their own security efforts, by adopting procedures to report suspicious financial transactions during aircraft purchase.

"Non-US citizens are carefully screened by flight trainers, and federal airman and aircraft registries are closely checked by law enforcement against terrorist lists," he adds. "And, charter aircraft weighing more than 12,500 lbs. must comply with TSA-mandated security procedures akin to those for the airlines."



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