Program Would Restrict Thousands Of Businesses With No Security
If TSA overlays the security regime
for large airlines onto small aircraft, thousands of small and
mid-size businesses would be stifled, with no tangible security
benefit. That was the message delivered Wednesday to congressional
lawmakers by Martha King, co-owner of King Schools, Inc., on behalf
of her business and 8,000 other Member Companies with the National
Business Aviation Association (NBAA).
King offered her assessment in testimony before a hearing held
by a House security panel to discuss the TSA's controversial Large
Aircraft Security Program (LASP).
"Since the events of 9/11, the general aviation community has
been very proactive in developing and implementing a large number
of workable and effective security measures," King told the House
Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure
As examples, she pointed to collaboration on general aviation
airport guidelines, the monitoring of aircraft financing
transactions and support for requiring government-issued,
tamper-proof photo IDs for pilots.
"What general aviation operators
seek, and America needs, are measures that do not represent a
needless sacrifice in liberty without benefit to society," King
continued. She explained that in its current form, the TSA's LASP
would unnecessarily limit or prohibit mobility for companies like
hers and thousands of others without providing a clear security
To illustrate her point, King cited several proposals in the
LASP that had the potential to severely limit or halt flight
operations by businesses needing an airplane. These included:
- A list of more than 80 "prohibited items," some of which may be
routinely carried aboard business aircraft because they are central
to NBAA Members' business needs.
- A proposal to establish a third-party compliance audit program.
The business aviation community is concerned about the plan,
because it could actually decrease security, since businesses would
be required to reveal internal security procedures to outside
- A proposed requirement to continually vet passengers against a
no-fly list. Such lists have at times been inaccurate or
incomplete. "We know our passengers - they are our employees and
our customers," King said."In short, this proposal does not
recognize the significant differences between commercial airline
operations and non-commercial operations, which do not carry
members of the general public," she said. "General aviation
operators know personally everyone on our aircraft."
King maintained that the most effective approach to fixing the
proposal so that it would enhance security without sacrificing the
flexibility and mobility inherent in business aviation was through
the formation of a committee to facilitate a dialogue between
industry and government.
"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," King said. "This type of forum - often used by the FAA and
other government agencies - has proven benefits."
King reiterated the business aviation community's commitment to
continue working with government policymakers on effective and
workable security measures. "The freedom of movement of private
citizens has always been one of our great American ideals," she
concluded. "We are confident that we can ensure security without
sacrificing that ideal."
More than 7,000 comments were submitted to the TSA in February
regarding the LASP proposal. Nearly all of the comments suggested
that the proposed changes would be onerous to the thousands of
businesses that rely on general aviation aircraft.