Information published as access to Washington National remains elusive despite protests The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has released security guidelines for the country's general aviation airports. The release of the information publication (IP) comes amid concerns that access to Washington National airport will be denied to general aviation traffic until after the Presidential elections in November. National has been closed to general aviation since 11 September 2001.
The TSA airport security recommendations have been largely welcomed by the industry for adhering to the unified set of initiatives created last year under a TSA-led industry working group. The committee, including trade bodies the National Air Transportation Association (NATA), National Business Aviation Association and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association as well as airport officials, was tasked with developing security "best practices" of the general aviation community for all 5,400 public-use airports and heliports, as well as private-use airports and airfields.
The TSA says the guidelines are not mandatory and will not be regulated. The intent is to provide uniform federally endorsed guidelines that give airport owners, operators and users a consistent way to evaluate and improve security provision.
The framework of the IP covers personnel, aircraft, airports/facilities, surveillance, security plans and communications and speciality operations. "These are not blanket one-size-fits-all recommendations," says NATA, as a single approach to security will not apply to the broad spectrum of airports.
Meanwhile, access for GA operators to Washington National remains elusive, despite nearly three years of political wrangling. Industry supporters suggest access could be withheld until early next year, although acting TSA administrator David Stone has indicated a draft plan to allow some aircraft to resume GA operations to National is being scrutinised by a number of federal agencies.
KATE SARSFIELD / LONDON
Source: Flight International