2004 Press Releases

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NBAA Urges Reopening of Reagan National and TFRs to General Aviation

Longmuir Proposes New Security Program Equal to That of Commercial Airlines

Contact: Cassandra Bosco

Washington, DC, March 16, 2004 – National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Shelley A. Longmuir today urged that Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) and temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) be reopened to security-qualified general aviation aircraft.

In testimony before the House Aviation Subcommittee, Longmuir unveiled a program including "10 rings of security" called Secure Access, which would ensure the safe operation of general aviation aircraft at the airport while again generating millions of dollars a year in economic activity in the Washington region.

"Reopening Reagan Washington National Airport to general aviation aircraft will benefit this region and the nation in many ways. It will restore jobs lost; it will boost the economy and significantly increase productivity; it will improve the prospects of the general aviation industry, which was damaged by 9/11 and remains uncompensated for its loss; and maybe most importantly, it will be an important step in proving that terrorists will not succeed in reducing the freedom of Americans."

Besides the security provisions for DCA, the plan also would simplify the cumbersome and often confusing system of temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) or "no-fly" zones for general aviation aircraft. Since September 11, 2001, the closure of DCA to general aviation and more than 2,800 TFRs nationwide have cost the national economy $1.3 billion or over $43 million a month, according to a recent NBAA study.

General aviation traffic at Reagan National had accounted for $177 million in economic activity in the Washington region before the restrictions were imposed after September 11, 2001. In the year before the attacks, there were about 60,000 general aviation takeoffs and landings at Reagan National by more than 2,000 companies.

Noting that Congress in December 2003 directed the Department of Homeland Security to begin planning for the return of general aviation aircraft to Reagan National, Longmuir asked that the Department review and implement NBAA's Secure Access plan by August 1, 2004.

"The time has come to strike a sophisticated balance between the unique demands for general aviation security at DCA, and the pressing need to allow for the economic activity generated by the operation of general aviation aircraft at the airport," Longmuir said. "We believe Secure Access strikes this balance."

Among other things, the Secure Access program would require a criminal background check for the flightcrew and the entire flight department, which includes professional mechanics, schedulers and dispatchers, and would require aircraft operators to develop and maintain a ground security program. "We believe the security protocol we are proposing today is equal to or more secure than that employed by the scheduled commercial carriers," Longmuir said.

Review the text of the testimony on the NBAA web site at www.nbaa.org.

NBAA represents the aviation interests of more than 7,600 companies that own or operate general aviation aircraft as an aid to the conduct of their business, or are involved with business aviation. NBAA Member Companies earn annual revenues approaching $5 trillion — a number that is about half the gross domestic product — and employ more than 19 million people worldwide. The NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention is the world's largest display of civil aviation products and services.

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