TSA Watch: Twelve-Five Rule Tweaked


At long last, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has acted to clarify the way in which it applies the so-called “Twelve-Five” standard security program for aircraft weighing 12,500 pounds or more to aircraft weighing exactly 12,500 pounds: It won’t. Since enactment of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA) in late 2001, non-scheduled commercial operators of this class of aircraft have been subject to a statute directing the then-new agency to develop security programs for them. The statute was worded to include aircraft such as the Beech King Air 200, which has a maximum gross takeoff weight of exactly 12,500 pounds. In essence, someone helping to write the statute looked up the FAA’s definition of a “small” aircraft and fudged it. Now, according to the TSA, such aircraft can be removed from an operator’s Twelve-Five program altogether. In other words, the TSA has decided that the Twelve-Five Rule applies only to non-scheduled commercial aircraft weighing more than 12,500 pounds. To make that happen, operators of affected aircraft need to contact the TSA Principal Security Inspector responsible for their operation and ensure affected aircraft are removed from the agency’s records. This means that some operators may no longer be subject to TSA security rules; for more information, Twelve-Five operators should check the TSA’s dedicated and restricted-access Web board. If you meet the TSA’s requirements for being covered under the Twelve-Five Rule and you don’t know how to do that, well …