Senate And TSA On DCA Security

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TSA Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Fleming told the Senate Commerce Committee last week that the strict security requirements that will be imposed on the owners of private aircraft using Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport are a "basic starting point" and could be revised in the future. He didn't say whether that means they might get even tougher but his comments came after several members of the committee complained that the security lid will keep out all but a few private operators. Anyone using DCA will have to have an armed law enforcement officer on board and go through a TSA security screening at a gateway airport before flying to Washington. Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) said the provisions are "just going to kill general aviation" because of the added costs. Fleming said DCA access is a work in progress. "We'll continue to monitor it and make adjustments as necessary," he said. The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) has estimated the cost of the security arrangements at about $850 per flight, $700 for the officer and his or her return flight and $150 for a security processing fee. The TSA is now working on training and standards for the security screeners at the 12 gateway airports. Only 24 inbound and 24 outbound flights will be allowed each day to start.