Rules Released On DCA Access
Rules that will enable some general aviation operators to resume operations at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) were released last Friday and will go into effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, likely sometime this week. The interim final rule applies to all passenger aircraft operations into or out of DCA, except domestic and foreign airlines. But an operator may not begin using DCA until the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) determines that the airport complies with the security requirements spelled out in the interim rule. This includes adoption of a DCA Access Standard Security Program, which requires fingerprint-based criminal history record checks and TSA threat assessments of crewmembers and passengers, as well as carriage of an armed security officer. The operator’s last point of departure must be from an FBO at a TSA-approved “gateway airport.” Further, the TSA will inspect the aircraft and will screen passengers and baggage. The operator must reimburse the TSA for any costs, including $15 for each threat assessment and $296 per round trip into and out of DCA. Although the interim rule becomes effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, the TSA will accept comments for 60 days after publication.