May 21, 2009 — In a letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano this week, EAA Chairman/President Tom Poberezny joined the heads of four other general aviation groups asking the agency to remove a controversial airport security directive issued December 10 by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Instead the groups urge that the rulemaking process be initiated so that industry input can be included and mitigate the already occurring problems with the directive (1542-04-08F), which changed procedures for the issuance of airport ID media and increased the number of general aviation pilots and aircraft owners required to have authorized IDs at airports served by commercial carriers.
“Because these regulatory changes were issued as a security directive, they did not benefit from the comments of industry experts, possible affected parties and concerned citizens as would other regulatory changes promulgated under the federal rulemaking process,” the letter reads. “The changes do not take into account the unique nature of general aviation operations, and therefore may present serious issues to regulated airport operators.”
The result of the directive is a patchwork of locally designed security programs and requirements, which need to be complied with on an airport-by-airport basis, creating excessive and unnecessary burdens on aircraft owners and operators.
The letter stresses that GA is eager to work with the TSA in developing sensible security regulations that will prevent unauthorized access to aircraft and airport facilities. “Our group understands the need to secure America’s airports and stands ready to participate fully with the TSA.”
EAA has actively opposed the TSA Security Directive 08F since its release to airports late last year and has been trying to convince TSA to withdraw or substantially modify the directive to accommodate the flexible nature of general aviation operations. While TSA delayed the deadline for final implementation of the directive to June 1, there has been no substantive rewrite of the policy or change in direction by TSA in the interim.
EAA is continuing to press on all fronts to seek a process that meets TSA’s security objectives while not interfering with normal general aviation operations. In addition to the letter to Secretary Napolitano, EAA is meeting with members of Congress and their staff seeking support for relief from the onerous directive.