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FAA Publishes Revised Plan for Providing ‘Opt Out’ From Internet Flight Tracking
May 25, 2012
Complying with direction from lawmakers, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently released its plan to implement a slightly revised version of an agency program formerly known as the NBAA Block Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) program. The proposed new guidance, issued May 8, formalizes efforts already taken by the FAA to restore access for all operators that want to participate in the program, which allows individuals and companies to opt out from having their flights broadcast over the Internet.
Under the proposed policy, operators would utilize the FAA program essentially as they do now, meaning that all requests to have information blocked from the Aircraft Situation Display to Industry (ASDI) are processed by the FAA. The agency took over that role from NBAA in August 2011, and operators have reported that the process is working well.
As before, operators will have the option to have their information blocked by ASDI vendors rather than by the FAA, which gives operators the option of tracking their own aircraft while still limiting the public availability of the tracking data. Whether operators choose blocking at the FAA level or at the ASDI vendor level, the FAA is responsible for processing the blocking lists.
The U.S. Department of Transportation and FAA attempted last year to curtail the program so that only those operators able to provide evidence of a "valid security concern" would be able to participate. The business aviation community strongly objected to that proposal, with NBAA dubbing the attempt to dismantle the (previously named) BARR program a "paparazzi protection rule" that would compromise operator privacy. Review the NBAA press release.
In response to overwhelming criticism over the attempt to weaken the program, along with advocacy efforts spearheaded by NBAA and other aviation organizations, Congress including language in House Resolution 2112, reinstating the program and ordering the FAA to remove any restrictions to participation in it. Upon passage of the comprehensive transportation appropriations bill in November 2011, the FAA lifted the restrictions on the program and said it would later issue formal procedures ensuring that it would continue to be available to any operator wanting to opt out from having flight data broadcast online.
"The FAA's guidelines confirm the implementation that the FAA and the Department of Transportation had indicated would take place after Congress passed its legislation last year," NBAA Senior Vice President, Operations & Administration Steve Brown said. "It's good to see them follow through on that language."
NBAA believes the proposal offered by the FAA substantially addresses Member concerns, and the Association will be submitting comments to the federal government in the near future. Once submitted, NBAA will make this information available, and public comments are also invited to the FAA’s proposal through June 8. Comments may be submitted to www.regulations.gov by referencing Docket No. FAA-2011-0183.