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Security, Safety, Professionalism Remained in View for NBAA and Industry in 2013
Dec. 30, 2013
While the business aviation community faced significant challenges in 2013 – among them a controversial FAA plan for screening pilots for obstructive sleep apnea, a government shutdown and a sequester-driven proposal for shuttering contract air traffic control towers – the year also included some notable milestones.
For example, the continuing work done by NBAA and its Member Companies to educate government security officials about the industry’s unique operating needs and challenges resulted in a new Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) rule regarding flights from south of the border into the United States.
NBAA Security Committee Chairman Greg Kulis said: “Operators that were previously required to do a landing and take-off for no other reason than to clear customs [at the first available airport designated a port of entry by ICE] can now go directly to their destination and clear customs there without having to stop. That’s been huge for the industry.”
Kulis estimated that agreement alone, which ends decades of stops for customs clearance, is saving business operators thousands of landing cycles and millions of dollars each year.
Since the terrorist attacks of 2001 sharply reduced business aviation access to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), NBAA has been working with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to improve access for general aviation operators. In 2013, Kulis said, the effort paid off with advances in the gateway program, which designates airports that can be used as departure points for flights to DCA.
In 2013, Anchorage, AK (ANC); Boca Raton, FL (BCT); Bozeman, MT (BZM); Fresno, CA (FAT); Oklahoma City, OK (OKC); Melbourne, FL (MLB) and Pittsburgh, PA (PIT) – were added to the list of gateway airports from which direct flights to DCA can be launched under the DCA Access Standard Security Program.
“There have been other major improvements,” Kulis noted. “Operators can now swap out the aircraft at the last minute. Crew changes can be made at the last minute. And if a passenger wants to delay the flight at the last minute, the TSA is likely to approve that with no problem. All that makes the approval process easier and improves flexibility in the DCA arrival process.”
This year also saw a new development in NBAA’s ongoing effort to enhance the industry’s already outstanding safety record, with the launch of the NBAA Safety Committee’s Top Ten List. The list highlights the top 10 challenges to business aviation safety that committee chairman Eric Barfield wants to see addressed, including task saturation.
“In a nutshell, [task saturation] is too much to do without enough time, tools or resources, leading to an inability to focus on what really matters,” Barfield explained. It is an issue that he said is often exacerbated by the very technology aimed at reducing cockpit.
While the work of NBAA and its committees resulted in some significant 2013 achievements, the Association welcomed other milestones as the year drew to a close.
For example, the Certified Aviation Manager (CAM) program was accredited by the National Council for Certifying Agencies, putting CAMs on par with certified executives in financial planning, law and health care.
And the Association, which began in 1947 with 19 charter Members, welcomed Member number 10,000 in 2013: TCB Aviation, based at Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport in Michigan.