2011 Press Releases

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Government Action on BARR Likely Imminent As GA Groups' Court Fight Continues

Members Encouraged to Request Continued Do-Not-Track Ability With FAA

Contact: Dan Hubbard, (202) 783-9360, [email protected]

Washington, DC, July 29, 2011 – With the government's plan to limit the Block Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) program expected to take effect on August 2, general aviation (GA) advocacy groups today anticipated that many of their members' flights will be subject to display on the internet in the near term, but that a court challenge will ultimately restore their ability to opt out from having their aviation movements tracked online.

"While we anticipate that the court will reverse the government's action, we also expect that the BARR program will be curtailed," said National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen. "We are committed to pursuing every legal avenue available for fully restoring the BARR, and as we wait for our day in court, we strongly encourage everyone who has used the program to ask government officials to preserve their ability to opt out from having their flights tracked."

The decade-old, congressionally enabled BARR program provides operators of private aircraft the ability to opt out of having their aviation movements tracked by anyone, anywhere in the world, who has an internet connection.

Earlier this year, the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that on August 2nd, the agency will limit the ability to opt out of flight tracking only to those operators able to demonstrate a "valid security concern."

NBAA and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) are challenging the government's plan in court, and the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) has filed a friend of the court brief supporting the suit. However, a full hearing on the matter will not occur before the government's expected action to limit the BARR program.

"Despite overwhelming opposition to the DOT's plan from aviation groups, business organizations, privacy groups, members of congress and others, we expect the agency to follow through on its intentions, and move to curtail the BARR program on August 2nd," said AOPA President and CEO Craig Fuller. "That said, this story is far from over – we anticipate that our legal challenge to the DOT's action will be considered by the court in the coming months, and that we will prevail in preserving the program." 

Bolen agreed with Fuller, adding: "We will also continue to call upon congress to approve a final reauthorization measure for the Federal Aviation Administration [FAA] that includes language preserving the BARR program approved by the House of Representatives earlier this year."

What's Next?

The general aviation group leaders said that at this time, individuals and companies that have relied on the BARR program should assume that their flights will appear on online flight-tracking displays, unless FAA officials have received and processed their requests for continued inclusion in the do-not-track list based on a valid security concern.

Going forward, aircraft owners and operators who want to opt out of having their aviation movements tracked must send a request to the FAA do so. The associations encouraged aviators who believe they meet the new, security-based requirements for inclusion in the opt-out list to apply.

Successful applicants report that a submission typically requires four pieces of information:

  • First, applicants should provide the aircraft registration information and a stated request for inclusion in the program.
  • Second, the submission should note that the request is being made pursuant to Federal Register notice 76 FR 32258.
  • Third, applicants should acknowledge that they believe they meet the requirements for a valid security concern, or meet U.S. Treasury regulations for a business-oriented security concern set forth in the Federal Register notice.
  • Fourth, applicants should sign their name to the document.

NBAA's website provides guidance to help applicants complete the process. Those who submit a request to preserve their ability to opt out of having their flights tracked should expect to receive an acknowledgment from the FAA indicating receipt of the submission and confirming that the request is being processed for inclusion in the opt-out list. FAA officials indicate that the agency will update enrollments in the program on a monthly basis.

Finally, because the associations believe the courts will overturn the government's action, all existing BARR participants, and those wanting to obtain do-not-track capability, should continue to send NBAA requests to add or delete tail numbers, so that the association can maintain an up-to-date list for use as needed when the program is reinstated.

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Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The Association represents more than 8,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention, the world's largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at www.nbaa.org.

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