By Glenn Pew, Contributing Editor, Video Editor
The Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, which has jurisdiction over the TSA, thinks the TSA's Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP) should not go forward without industry input. The Chairman, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (Mississippi), submitted a letter to the TSA stating his opinion that LASP, as proposed appears "unfeasible, or overly burdensome to the industry." In a meeting last week, members of the House aviation subcommittee told the TSA that LASP goes too far in applying commercial security regulations to general aviation operations, according to AOPA representatives who attended the meeting. The guidelines that would be imposed by LASP could not only have a stifling effect on operators, but airports as well, and impede economic growth -- especially in rural areas, according to its opponents.
Rules under consideration apply to aircraft weighing over 12,500 pounds and would impose background checks and fingerprinting for pilots and crew. It would force operators to check passengers against terrorist watch lists and screen baggage. All of which, say LASP's opponents, requires space that operators may currently use for something else and employees operators may not currently have while discouraging though inconvenience the business that might pay for those positions.