...Rift Between Groups Quickly Sealed
It took a few discordant notes to get the three groups singing the same tune, however. Earlier in the convention, NATA Vice President of Government and Industry Affairs Jeb Burnside told NBAA Convention News, the unofficial organ of the gathering, that the NBAA's lobbying may have actually hindered efforts to crack open the security wall around DCA. "We have been told time and time again that the way to do this is incrementally," said Burnside. "This would mean charter operations with 12,500 security approval [TSA security rules for aircraft 12,500 pounds or more] as the next step in implementation." Burnside suggested that the NBAA's lobbying to include private aircraft under similar arrangements now, while part of the ultimate goal, may have led to the watered-down promise by Congress to support the return of GA to DCA that came without any specific criteria or timetable. In a statement, Coyne coyly said he was surprised to read Burnside's comments and that they were contrary to NATA's cooperative attitude with the NBAA toward restoring GA access to DCA. "The statements quoted in the article reflect only the passionate outpourings of an employee of NATA and do not reflect the position of NATA's board, its president or the association," Coyne said. He also congratulated the NBAA for its efforts to fight for DCA access. The NBAA's Longmuir welcomed Coyne's comments and pledged to continue to fight for access by both private and charter operators. "We have never and will never favor one segment of the general aviation community over another," she said.