Washington, DC, Dec. 11, 2017 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today welcomed the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of much-needed legislation that would strengthen and streamline security for general aviation and charter operators.
The bill – “Securing General Aviation and Commercial Charter Air Carrier Service Act of 2017” (H.R. 3669) – sponsored by Rep. Ron Estes (R-4-KS), would improve security procedures for general aviation and commercial charter air carriers. The bill would:
- Require the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to conduct a cost and feasibility study of establishing web-based access to the Secure Flight system for commercial charter operators.
- Authorize the TSA to provide screening services to commercial charter operators in areas other than primary passenger terminals, if the carrier makes that request through the airport’s federal security director.
- Require the TSA to provide Congress with an implementation plan for general aviation recommendations approved by the Aviation Security Advisory Council.
- Authorize the TSA to designate at least one employee to be responsible for issues and stakeholder engagement related to general aviation.
- Require the TSA to issue a report to Congress on the feasibility of requiring security threat assessments for all candidates seeking flight school training to operate any aircraft with a maximum certificated takeoff weight of more than 12,500 pounds in order to increase vetting of such candidates.
“We applaud Rep. Estes for introducing this important legislation, which would provide much-needed streamlining of security for general aviation and commercial charter air carriers,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “The bill would offer more flexibility to general aviation and charter operators, while also increasing security.”
A report on the bill by the House Committee on Homeland Security said that because general aviation and commercial charter air carriers represent a small fraction of TSA’s stakeholder community, the industry’s issues and concerns often “fall to the bottom of the agency’s priorities. This bill seeks to elevate some of these important, but often overlooked, security issues.”
The committee didn’t hold hearings on the bill, but in its report said that the legislation was informed by a 2012 Subcommittee on Transportation Security Subcommittee hearing titled, “A Decade After 9/11 Could American Flight Schools Still Unknowingly Be Training Terrorists?” The subcommittee received testimony from Bolen and other industry and government officials on this question.
The bill now heads to the Senate for possible consideration.