By Matt Thurber
While the business aviation community may have been hoping that the Transportation Security Administration’s controversial Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP) would go away, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano testified last month that the TSA plans to issue a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM) “before the end of 2010.”
LASP, as originally proposed in October 2008, would require all operators of Part 91 aircraft with an mtow of more than 12,500 pounds to create a TSA-approved security program (see article page 12), put all flight crew through FBI criminal history background checks, compare all passengers against the TSA’s watch lists and impose new restrictions on carriage of certain items in the cabin.
Napolitano told the Senate aviation subcommittee that the TSA will incorporate the input from GA stakeholders that it has sought throughout its rulemaking process for the SNPRM, including five public meetings, and hold “additional comment outreach sessions” with affected stakeholders to gain further input and feedback.
Late last summer, the agency re-engaged its aviation security advisory committee (ASAC), a part of the TSA that is charged with recommending improvements in security methods, equipment and procedures for civil aviation.
Government and industry officials received an update on the proposed LASP that was rescinded earlier in the year after a storm of overwhelming negative comments, which some have estimated at nearly 7,400. Napolitano said the TSA received 8,000 comments in response to the initial NPRM.
NBAA enlisted members to testify before Congress about their concerns with LASP. In July, Martha King, co-owner of association member King Schools, told the House subcommittee on transportation security and infrastructure protection that general aviation operators are concerned about security measures that sacrifice liberty without benefit to society.
“This proposal does not recognize the significant differences between airline operations and noncommercial operations, which do not carry members of the general public,” she explained. “General aviation operators personally know everyone on their aircraft. I believe general aviation security would be best enhanced by having the TSA establish a rulemaking committee to address the questions and concerns raised by industry and the public on the LASP.”
Source: CHARTER X