NBAA Welcomes CBP Change to Ease Radiation Inspections

Contact: Dan Hubbard, (202) 783-9360,

Washington, DC, June 17, 2011 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today welcomed a helpful change that will ease the radiation-screening procedure conducted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents for business aircraft flying into the United States.

Effective June 15, auxiliary power units (APUs) may remain on while radiation checks are conducted on aircraft entering the country, as long as the exhaust vents for those units are eight feet above the ground or higher. Cooperation between CBP officials and NBAA representatives led to the accommodation, which greatly streamlines the CBP’s radiation inspections without sacrificing security protections.

NBAA Security Council Chairman Greg Kulis reported that the CBP’s shutdown requirement emerged when agents began screening all aircraft arriving in the U.S. using Radiation Isotope Identifier devices (RIID). Once the APU and all electrical systems were shut down, crews had to build in significant ground delays while the aircraft’s computerized electronics systems were re-started.

In NBAA’s discussions with the CBP about the challenge, officials cited two reasons for the shutdown requirement. First, the agency was concerned that aircraft electrical power would interfere with the RIID equipment. Additionally, CBP officials feared hot exhaust gases from an operating APU could harm inspectors walking behind the aircraft.

NBAA and CBP carefully studied the agency’s concerns. “We talked to Customs, and the general agreement was that electrical power did not pose a problem,” Kulis said. “The remaining concern was the safety hazard posed by APU emissions, and we noted the exhaust from those units emerges well above the average person’s head in most cases.”

Aircraft with APU exhaust outlets lower than eight feet may still need to shut down, Kulis reported, but power may be maintained through use of ground power units.

“This was not an arbitrary selection,” Kulis noted. “This is an ideal compromise between CBP’s safety concerns for their inspectors, and the industry’s need to maintain electrical power prior to an oceanic crossing or other destination.”

NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen said the agreement exemplifies the effectiveness of industry-government collaboration for producing policies that help enhance security with a minimal impact on mobility and efficiency, which are among the key advantages of business aviation.

“NBAA commends the CBP for its readiness to work with industry on screening policies that are both effective and workable,” Bolen said.

The decision was also warmly received by Joe Buckley, Business Development Manager at Shannon Airport (EINN) in Ireland. “This policy change essentially removes a very significant hurdle that was preventing Shannon from capitalizing on business aviation opportunities arising from being the first airport in the world to offer full U.S. pre-clearance,” he explained. “Now that this stumbling block has been removed, we can start developing this unique facility, which allows business jet passengers to pre-clear U.S. Customs and Immigration at Shannon and then fly directly to over 200 U.S. airports.”

For more information, review NBAA’s CBP Radiation Inspection information.

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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

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