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Thu, May 20, 2004

GA Airport Security: NATA Chimes In

Says It's "Pleased" At TSA Guidelines

The TSA, after months of preparation, released its General Aviation Security Recommendations to the public earlier this week. Sent out as a TSA Information Publication (IP), the guidelines are suggested security procedures for general aviation airports and are not meant to be considered mandatory.

The guidelines are a result of months of work by the Aviation Security Advisory Committee (ASAC) General Aviation Working Group and the TSA. The ASAC developed a list of recommendations based on best practices of the general aviation community. The TSA incorporated each of those recommendations into the final guidance document, with greater overall detail provided to eliminate ambiguity.

"Overall, NATA is pleased with the guidance document and is appreciative of the fact that the TSA took our recommendations into consideration while drafting the IP," stated NATA president James K. Coyne. "The document will be a great asset for those looking to improve upon their already sufficient security plans."

The framework of the IP is seven functional areas – personnel, aircraft, airports/facilities, surveillance, security plans and communications and specialty operations. The IP also provides a method for airports to determine their security needs, realizing that there is no "one size fits all" approach when it comes to airport security.

The TSA considers the IP a "living document" that will be updated and modified as new security enhancements are developed and as they receive additional input from the aviation industry.

One of the concerns raised with the issuing of this IP is how the states will react. Early indications from some states are that these recommendations could be codified into state law.

"Our only concern with the IP is that states may interpret this document as regulatory framework and make the recommendations mandatory," Coyne continued. "That is not the use for which the TSA or the ASAC intended the document and the TSA and industry must ensure that the states recognize this."



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