WASHINGTON, D.C. – A number of aviation groups expressed concern last week about a new Transportation Security Administration "Security Directive" (SD), which would dramatically increase the number of people who would be required to undergo background checks, be fingerprinted, and meet other standards necessary to qualify them for airport identification badges at hundreds of commercial airports across the country.
A spokesman for one trade association told BA that basically the SD would "require everybody inside the fence in the Aircraft Operations Area (AOA)" to meet the new ID badge requirements, including contract employees with access to hangars, taxi and limousine drivers, and even pilots and passengers getting on and off their own private aircraft. The association official, who has more than three decades of aviation industry experience, said the SD is an example of the federal government "making policy in a vacuum."
In a letter to John Sammon, the TSA assistant administrator for Transportation Sector Network Management, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association said information from a number of TSA regulated airports makes it clear that "compliance with this SD will necessitate the badging and performance of a security threat assessment on tens of thousands of general aviation pilots that operate from these airports."
Andrew Cebula, AOPA's executive vice president for government affairs, charged that while TSA consulted with representatives from the airport industry prior to issuing the SD, "no one from the general aviation community was contacted. This is unfortunate because we could have provided important insight into the effect of such action."
Cebula also complained that the application of the new SD requirements on all categories of airports "does not reflect real-world scenarios at many Category II, III, and IV airports where general aviation represents a majority of the activity and revenue."
Unlike a formal rulemaking proposal, under which the government would formally solicit comment from interested parties, the latest TSA action is a directive that the agency simply plans to implement without seeking comment. The SD carries an effective date of March 1.
Source: Aviation Week