Rules that enable qualified general aviation operators to resume flights into and out of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) went into effect last month, and interested operators can start the complicated application and approval process.
Even though a general aviation airplane has never been used for a known act of terrorism, securing general aviation airports against any such act continues to be a high priority throughout the nation.
While federal government agencies have decided that terrorists using a general aviation aircraft as a weapon of mass destruction is highly unlikely, the perception of a threat is forcing airports to take protective measures.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has added three more airports to the list of “gateway” airports that qualified general aviation operators can use to get a pre-clearance to fly into Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).
To receive final clearance for a flight into DCA, operators must make their last departure before DCA from an FBO that holds a TSA security authorization at a gateway airport.
The Homeland Security Inspector General reported last month that the airlines are underpaying the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) an estimated $14.5 million in passenger security fees every year.
The TSA agreed and said it will audit the airlines to verify they
are remitting the proper amounts. Passengers pay a maximum of $10
per round trip to help pay for security screening at airports.
Anyone who has boarded an airliner since the latest terrorist attempt to use our aircraft as weapons has felt, once again, as if the traveler is the bad guy. I know that the security people must regard all travelers as potential terrorists, but there has to be a better way. I’m told that security procedures for those leaving Israel flow better than those used in the U.S., and the Israelis are under a much higher threat level than we are.