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Sat, Apr 02, 2011

NBAA's Comments Point To Host Of Flaws In FAA's BARR Proposal

Association Calls On Agency To Withdraw Its Plans

In comments submitted to the federal government Thursday, the NBAA outlined a number of serious concerns raised by the FAA's plan to severely limit the ability of companies using general aviation airplanes to opt-out of having their movements published by flight-tracking services.

NBAA's comments were submitted in response to a notice recently published in the Federal Register regarding the FAA's intention to curtail significantly the Block Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) program - a proposal that has been met with strong objections from NBAA, its members, and other major industry groups in and outside the aviation sector. The FAA's proposal for curtailing the BARR program is "fundamentally inconsistent with well-established public policy principles regarding the government's obligation to protect the sanctity of wholly private conduct - principles that are currently receiving more attention than ever from the Administration, other agencies, and Congress," NBAA says in its comments to the public docket. "While the FAA and other government agencies clearly have a need for the subject data, the Notice fails to identify any government interest whatsoever that would be advanced by preventing owners and operators of private aircraft from blocking the disclosure of flight tracking information to unknown persons."

NBAA's comments, which add to the hundreds of submissions by individuals, businesses and other entities that oppose the FAA's plan for the BARR program, detail the numerous reasons the FAA must rescind its proposal. For example:

  • The FAA's plan is fundamentally at odds with government's traditional role - preserving citizens' privacy from emerging technologies, not facilitating intrusions upon that privacy. Indeed, the proposal fails to acknowledge the vital interest that individuals or companies have in withholding information about their movements from anyone, anywhere in the world with an Internet connection.
  • The government's plan identifies neither a government interest that would be advanced by implementing the proposed changes, nor a public benefit that would flow from its implementation.
  • The government's proposal would set a standard for proof of security risk so high that few individuals or companies with legitimate security concerns could ever meet the test. Equally important, the plan fails to address strong public policy interests in protecting privacy and competitive information.
  • The plan does not explain how the FAA, whose responsibilities for general aviation security were moved to the Transportation Security Administration nearly a decade ago, would be able to administer such complex new security requirements.

After NBAA's comments were submitted, NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen reminded Association Members that the deadline for entering statements into the public docket on the FAA's plan for the BARR program is Monday, April 4, and that it is vital that the business aviation community be heard on the issue.


NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen

"Many NBAA Members have already made their voices heard on importance of the BARR program, by filing comments in the public docket, telling their stories to the media, and expressing their concerns to Congress," he said. "That type of activism is critical in this fight, and the industry must continue to mobilize to ensure that our collective opposition to the FAA's plan to curtail the BARR program is well understood."

FMI: www.nbaa.org

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