February 7, 2011

Dear NBAA Member Representative,

I’m sending this message to all NBAA Members to alert the industry to a serious challenge to the availability of the Blocked Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) program.

As NBAA Members know, the BARR program was implemented in 2000, with the support of NBAA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). NBAA has long understood that in the instant-information age of the Internet, with the flight-tracking software that web-based technology has made available, there are legitimate reasons why companies’ flights should not be displayed on a real-time basis.

Because NBAA recognizes the need for flight security among its Member Companies, the Association has aggressively defended the BARR, and fought challenges to the program.

For example, NBAA forcefully defended the confidentiality of Members’ blocked aircraft tail numbers by mounting a legal challenge to a national news organization’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for all aircraft tail numbers blocked through the BARR program. NBAA and its legal counsel pursued the matter in the District Court of Washington, DC; unfortunately, in February of last year, the court ruled that the FAA was required to release the aircraft numbers listed in the BARR program on the date of the news organization’s FOIA request.

Today, we face another concern related to the BARR program. The Department of Transportation (DOT) is considering the establishment, as early as next week, of onerous limitations to the BARR through implementation of a security-related eligibility requirement, both for current participants and for entities that may seek to participate in the future. We have conveyed our concerns about this change directly to the Secretary, and have requested another meeting with him to discuss the matter again this week.

We will keep you informed of our progress; however, as of now, it appears new limitations could go into effect as early as February 15.

As NBAA’s work on this issue continues, we want to ensure that someone is available if you wish to discuss the situation in further detail. With that in mind, I invite you to call or email NBAA’s Operations Services Group at (202) 783-9250, or info@nbaa.org.

Thank you in advance for your time and attention to this matter.

Ed Bolen
President and CEO
National Business Aviation Association