The strict security requirements of the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) just-released plan to reopen Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) to general aviation in about 90 days might prove to be so expensive and complicated that some operators could be discouraged from using the airport. DCA has been closed to GA since 9/11.
United States Department of Homeland Security
With new general aviation security measures thought to be looming on the horizon, NBAA hosted several senior-level officials from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) during the seventh annual European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition in Geneva in late May.
Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), a senior member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, criticized the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) plan to reopen Reagan National Airport to general aviation.
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.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has quietly suspended enforcement of the rule that allowed the agency to revoke a pilot’s certificate for alleged security risks.
Angel Flight Northeast, one of six regional divisions of the national volunteer-pilot program, recently signed an agreement with the Homeland Security Department to join Mercy Medical Airlift (MMA) as a participant in the Homeland Security Emergency Air Transportation System (HSEATS). The MMA developed and administers the volunteer-pilot HSEATS program, which grew out of the outpouring of volunteer-pilot offerings immediately after 9/11.
Once again general aviation is put in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation. This time it comes from the Transportation Security Administration, where there is a great desire to solve the perceived problem of foreign and domestic repair station security.
Hanscom Field, Bedford, Mass., is now a gateway airport for companies that want to fly into Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) permits corporate and charter flights to use DCA with certain restrictions, including arrival from one of 19 gateway airports, vetting of flight crews, screening of passengers and carriage of an armed security officer on board.
• Congress dodged the dog days of August by taking a six-week recess beginning July 22, but not before legislators increased their bills introduced count to 2,772 in the Senate and 5,001 in the House of Representatives.
Nearly three months after being directed by Congress to develop a plan for giving pilots and mechanics a “third party” review process if they lose their FAA certificates for alleged security reasons, the Transportation Security Administration has yet to propose such a plan. To date, there have been no FAA certificates pulled under the regulation, according to AOPA.