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GA wants more say in TSA security policiesGA wants more say in TSA security policies

General aviation works hard to enhance aviation security but has little voice in policy decisions that affect GA pilots, AOPA said in a response to a Transportation Security Administration survey.

AOPA file photo.

Only about 400 large airports with commercial service of 20,000 airports are TSA-regulated for security procedures. At those airports, impediments to GA access to air operations areas and aircraft parking can be significant, AOPA said in a letter responding to a recent TSA policy feedback survey.

Each airport works with the agency to develop a unique security plan. However, transient and based GA pilots do not have access to the specifics of those airports’ requirements “because the information is considered Sensitive Security Information,” wrote Nobuyo Reinsch, AOPA director of aviation security.

“We strongly believe that there should be a formal process where the industry and operators can provide input to minimize negative impacts,” she wrote.

AOPA’s survey response also pointed out to security officials that GA pilots are responsible for their passengers’ safety and security, and because pilots hold FAA pilot certificates, they are in effect “vetted by the TSA on a daily basis.”

Rather than subject GA pilots to the same security constraints as airport employees or passengers, AOPA advocates for a risk-based approach.

AOPA also cited the association’s long record of working to maintain and improve airport security including:

  • The AOPA Airport Watch program, launched in 2003
  • A security fact sheet released in October 2018
  • AOPA's work with the FAA to rewrite the Security Identifications Display Area section (2-3-15) of the Aeronautical Information Manual

AOPA urged the TSA to consider ways to solicit ideas from aircraft operators and “conduct impact assessments when developing new security policies and procedures.”

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz

Associate Editor Web
Associate Editor Web Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 30-year AOPA member.
Topics: Advocacy, Security, Airport

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