Business aviation operators and advocates are touting victory over unnecessary government intrusion after President Barack Obama signed the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2012 into law on 18 November.
The bill, which relates to funding for a variety of federal departments and programmes through September 2012, effectively prevents the US Federal Aviation Administration from moving forward with changes to its Block Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) programme.
Created in 2000, BARR, until August this year, allowed any operator with "a generalised security concern or privacy interest" to have an aircraft's tail number blocked from publicly available tracking databases.
In August, the FAA rolled out a modified BARR that required operators to demonstrate a "valid security concern" to gain the privacy measures of the previous programme. The National Business Aviation Association and other advocacy groups filed a lawsuit aimed at reversing the changes.
Wording in the Continuing Appropriations Act, however, prohibits FAA funds from being used "to implement or to continue to implement any limitation" on an owner or operator to have an aircraft's tail number blocked from data made available to the public for non-commercial flights.
"Following this legislative victory we will huddle with our attorneys," said NBAA president Ed Bolen after the bill was signed.
"But make no mistake, Congress has stepped in and said the BARR programme should continue as it existed from 2000 until August 2, 2011," he added.