Senate Moves To Revive BARR

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The Senate has passed a bill that would reinstate the Block Aircraft Registration Request program and allow aircraft operators to prevent their flight information from being displayed on aircraft-tracking websites. "We thank the Senate for approving this bill," NBAA President Ed Bolen said on Wednesday, "and we hope the House will finalize legislation to reinstate the program as soon as possible." NBAA and AOPA have also challenged the plan to dismantle BARR in the courts.

A court hearing on the matter is expected in the coming months, NBAA said. EAA has filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the suit. NBAA says the dismantling of BARR represents an "unwarranted invasion of the privacy of aircraft owners and operators, a threat to the competitiveness of U.S. companies and a potential security risk to persons on board." The BARR program used to block flight info for anyone who asked, but faced with a Freedom of Information request, the government took the position that only a serious security concern can justify keeping the data out of the public domain. FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt was asked about the issue at EAA AirVenture in July and said the FAA does not support reinstating BARR. "This is one of those cases where we need to distinguish between a right and a privilege," Babbitt said. Flying in the national airspace system qualifies as a privilege, he said.