AOPA Asks For More Time On Cross-Border Flight Rules

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AOPA has asked U.S. Customs and Border Protection to extend the comment period by two months on a proposed rule that would require general aviation pilots to electronically file passenger manifests at least an hour before departure on flights headed to the U.S. from outside the country. As AVweb reported last week, the Baja Bush Pilots, who promote air tourism to Mexico, first raised the issue at last weeks AOPA Expo in Hartford, noting that its sometimes difficult to find a phone that works, let alone an Internet connection. Andy Cebula, director of government affairs for AOPA, said in a news release that actually being able to file the manifests is only part of the problem with the new rule. The purpose of the exercise is to allow border security officials a chance to compare names on the manifests to the no-fly list that bars some people from boarding airliners. Cebula notes that if the name of a passenger on a GA flight originating in a remote location is incorrectly flagged on the no-fly list, it could be a nightmare resolving the issue from a distance. [E]xtending the comment period is essential to provide the general aviation community the opportunity to develop possible alternatives to address specific concerns within the rule such as the proposed electronic-only submission of passenger and other data to CBP prior to border crossing flights, said Cebula in a letter.