TSA Targets Bigger GA Aircraft

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Operators of aircraft heavier than 12,500 pounds will likely have some security-related paperwork to do in the near future as the Transportation Security Administration rolls out new security rules for GA aircraft. According to USA Today, the new measures will include background checks for flight crew members, parking aircraft in secure areas and inspecting aircraft (randomly, it would seem). It's not clear if passengers will also be screened but it seems unlikely that any kind of on-airport security regime for private aircraft passengers is being considered. "We've worked very closely with industry to garner as much input with respect to what is operationally feasible," TSA general aviation security chief told USA Today. That could also be why reaction from bizav groups is cautious instead of strident.

National Business Aviation Association spokesman Dan Hubbard said the new rules can't trump the convenience of private aviation. "The new security proposals must be workable and should strike the right balance between the need for security and for mobility," he said. Eric Byers, head of government affairs for the National Air Transportation Association, said the "little bit of an inconvenience" caused by the new measures may actually benefit business aviation by soothing the fears of those avoiding private aircraft out of security concerns. "Having a program like this will make (private planes) even more secure," he said.