A proposal to allow "qualified" general aviation operations to resume at Washington DC's National Airport has been presented to the US Transportation Safety Administration (TSA).

Airlines have been authorised to return to pre-11 September capacity at National by 15 April, but business aircraft will remain barred.

The US National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) has proposed that the US Federal Aviation Administration issue "security letters of authorisation" (SLOAs) to Part 91 and Part 135 operators that comply with certain security procedures.

A security letter would allow a qualified operator access to National, which is less than 10km (6 miles) from the White House and Congress. A SLOA would also guarantee access to US airspace at times of heightened security.


Although operators of foreign-registered and crewed aircraft could receive a security letter for general access to US airspace, under the NBAA proposal only US-registered and crewed aircraft could access National. The proposal calls for background checks on aircraft owners, operators and crews, as well as passenger vetting.

The NBAA says the TSA and the US Secret Service, responsible for security at National, have committed to giving the SLOA proposal their "highest attention" and adds that an implementation schedule could be in place as early as 8 April.

The NBAA says a rival proposal to use designated gateway airports for security checks, the system used to control access to Salt Lake City, Utah, during the Winter Olympics, is "too difficult".

Source: Flight International