...But Must Follow Strict Rules
Under the new GA access rules, the operator of any private aircraft must submit passenger and crew manifests to the TSA 24 hours in advance of landing, and the TSA will conduct background checks on everyone. Only corporate aircraft with professional crews need apply. In addition, the airplane first must land at one of 12 "gateway airports" where the TSA will inspect the plane, passengers and baggage, charging a fee of over $500. And an armed law enforcement officer must be on every flight. "We definitely would like to see the rules made a little more workable," said Dan Hubbard of NBAA. "The whole advantage to business aircraft is time. It's an efficiency aircraft. Once you've made the stop [at a gateway airport], now you're not getting the trip done any faster than if you just flew into Dulles." GA flights at DCA also are limited to a maximum of 48 operations per day. The rules remain prohibitive, and even unworkable for many businesses, NBAA said. "Our industry will continue to work with federal security officials to strike a balance between freedom of mobility and America's homeland security needs," said NBAA President Ed Bolen. "But NBAA views this day as cause for celebration. The nation's business aviation community is grateful for the end of the prolonged closure of DCA to general aviation."