Washington, DC, July 15, 2009 – If the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) overlays the security regime for large airlines onto small aircraft, thousands of small and mid-size businesses would be stifled, with no tangible security benefit. That was the message delivered today to congressional lawmakers by Martha King, co-owner of King Schools, Inc., on behalf of her business and 8,000 other Member Companies with the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).
King offered her assessment in testimony before a hearing held by a House security panel to discuss the TSA’s controversial Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP).
“Since the events of 9/11, the general aviation community has been very proactive in developing and implementing a large number of workable and effective security measures,” King told the House Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection.
As examples, she pointed to collaboration on general aviation airport guidelines, the monitoring of aircraft financing transactions and support for requiring government-issued, tamper-proof photo IDs for pilots.
“What general aviation operators seek, and America needs, are measures that do not represent a needless sacrifice in liberty without benefit to society,” King continued. She explained that in its current form, the TSA’s LASP would unnecessarily limit or prohibit mobility for companies like hers and thousands of others without providing a clear security benefit.
To illustrate her point, King cited several proposals in the LASP that had the potential to severely limit or halt flight operations by businesses needing an airplane. These included:
“In short, this proposal does not recognize the significant differences between commercial airline operations and non-commercial operations, which do not carry members of the general public,” she said. “General aviation operators know personally everyone on our aircraft.”
King maintained that the most effective approach to fixing the proposal so that it would enhance security without sacrificing the flexibility and mobility inherent in business aviation was through the formation of a committee to facilitate a dialogue between industry and government.
“I believe general aviation security would be best enhanced by having the TSA establish a rulemaking committee to address the questions and concerns raised by industry and the public on the LASP,” King said. “This type of forum – often used by the FAA and other government agencies – has proven benefits.”
King reiterated the business aviation community’s commitment to continue working with government policymakers on effective and workable security measures. “The freedom of movement of private citizens has always been one of our great American ideals,”she concluded. “We are confident that we can ensure security without sacrificing that ideal.”
NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen thanked King for her testimony, which provided a voice for the thousands of companies that could be drastically and negatively impacted by the TSA’s proposed LASP.
“My thanks to Martha for explaining how our industry has led, not followed, on security enhancements for general aviation,”Bolen said. “She has put forward the true face of business aviation, and effectively explained how the industry’s operations differ significantly from those of the commercial airlines.”
More than 7,000 comments were submitted to the TSA in February regarding the LASP proposal. Nearly all of the comments suggested that the proposed changes would be onerous to the thousands of businesses that rely on general aviation aircraft.
For more on King’s testimony and information on NBAA’s advocacy efforts regarding LASP, visit www.nbaa.org/lasp.
Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The Association represents more than 8,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention, the world’s largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at www.nbaa.org.
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