Nov. 7, 2016

Last week, NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen met with TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger to discuss two topics important to business aviation – possible modification of the protocols for access to Reagan National Airport (DCA) in Washington, DC, and development of a contingency plan for continued general aviation operations should a major security event occur.

Bolen and Neffenger discussed potential changes to the DCA Access Standard Security Program, which among many other security measures, requires an armed security officer (ASO) for each passenger-carrying flight into or out of DCA. NBAA has long sought an alternative to the ASO that provides an equivalent level of security.

Bolen also impressed upon Neffenger the need for the proactive development of appropriate security measures that would allow general aviation to continue flying in the event of a national security crisis.

The administrator committed to working with NBAA to review appropriate measures for general aviation, including development of security measures to implement following a major security incident. Bolen encouraged the administrator to work with industry to have contingency steps in place today, versus waiting until after a crisis has occurred.

“We are well aware of the likely reaction to a significant security incident,” said Bolen. “Unless we have a plan in place that assures our government partners and the public that general aviation operations can safely continue, we’d likely see another mandatory grounding of all general aviation.”

Bolen emphasized that the general aviation community desires a proactive solution and is eager to cooperate with TSA to determine reasonable measures.

“NBAA appreciates our positive relationship with TSA and with Administrator Neffenger in particular,” said Bolen. “I was encouraged by the administrator’s reception at this meeting and look forward to continuing to work with him and the agency.”