Four US trade associations have called on the US Transportation Security Administration to halt its plans to impose "airline-like security" on general aviation. They want the TSA to form a rulemaking committee that would allow it to work directly with industry to identify effective, less burdensome security enhancements.

The TSA's proposed Large Aircraft Security Program would require anyone who operates an aircraft with a maximum weight exceeding 5,675kg (12,500lb) to, among other things, perform criminal background checks on all flightcrew members, vet all passengers, including family members, against terrorist watchlists, and submit to biennial audits of their security arrangements by a third-party auditor.

In a letter signed by the presidents of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the Experimental Aircraft Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association and the National Business Aviation Association, the associations say: "The proposals put forth in the LASP Notice of Proposed Rulemaking will do little to improve general aviation security and will have disastrous consequences on the industry."

They add: "Creation of a dedicated workgroup would allow industry and the TSA to work together on requirements that would simultaneously enhance general aviation security and facilitate general aviation operations. A rulemaking committee would provide a secure forum for stakeholder information sharing and the development of sensible and implementable measures."

General aviation takes "a back seat to no-one in our commitment to security, and our actions to date have demonstrated that fact", they say.

The TSA is accepting public comment on the proposed rule until 27 February.

In recent comments, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano acknowledged the concerns raised by general aviation, but did not indicate what action the TSA might take to address them.

Source: Flight International