Contact: Dan Hubbard, (202) 783-9360, firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington, DC, September 12, 2011 – National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen today welcomed language included in a congressional appropriations bill to preserve the Block Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) program.
Rep. Tom Latham (R-4-IA), who chairs the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies, included a provision to preserve the BARR in the annual appropriations bill for the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development.
The legislative language, which appears on page 16 of the bill, states in part:
“…None of the funds made available under this Act or any prior Act may be used to implement or to continue to implement any limitation on the ability of any owner or operator of a private aircraft to obtain, upon a request to the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, a blocking of that owner’s or operator’s aircraft registration number from any display of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Aircraft Situational Display to Industry data that is made available to the public, except data made available to a government agency, for the noncommercial flights of that owner or operator.”
Bolen thanked Rep. Latham and others on the subcommittee for including the language in the appropriations measure. “Chairman Latham and other leaders in Congress recognize that the government’s move to severely curtail the BARR program represents an unwarranted invasion of the privacy of aircraft owners and operators, a threat to the competitiveness of U.S. companies and a potential security risk to persons on board general aviation aircraft,” Bolen said. “We are pleased to see this recognition reflected in the Subcommittee’s bill.”
The decade-old, congressionally enabled BARR program was established to provide aircraft owners and operators an ability to “opt-out” of having their aviation movements tracked by anyone, anywhere in the world with an Internet connection.
In March 2011, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) formalized its intent to limit availability of the BARR program to only parties who could prove a “valid security concern.” NBAA and other general aviation groups have been joined by individuals and organizations in and outside the aviation industry in expressing alarm over the move, which represents an unwarranted invasion of the privacy of aircraft owners and operators, a threat to the competitiveness of U.S. companies and a potential security risk to persons on board.
Congressional lawmakers have also opposed the government’s limitations to the BARR program.
Last month, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) introduced a stand-alone bill to preserve the program. The senator’s opposition to the government’s curtailment of the BARR has been echoed by a bipartisan, bicameral group of congressional representatives. In July, 33 House lawmakers sent a letter asking Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to set aside his plans for the BARR. In June, a similar letter was sent by 26 senators.
Earlier in the year, the House passed legislation preserving the BARR as part of its version of a reauthorization package for the FAA. The House legislation awaits reconciliation with the FAA reauthorization measure passed by the Senate.
Separately, NBAA and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) are challenging the government’s plan in court. The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) also has filed a friend of the court brief supporting the suit. A full hearing on the matter has yet to occur, but is expected in the coming months.
For more information on changes to the BARR program, visit NBAA’s BARR program resources.
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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 www.nbaa.org.
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