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GAMA Reacts to Press Coverage of FBI/DHS Security Overview

GAMA NEWS 05-12 For Immediate Release: Mar 14, 2005

WASHINGTON, DC, March 14, 2005 – The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) today commented on the unclassified, confidential government aviation security overview published two weeks ago.

"GAMA and the rest of the aviation industry work closely with all federal security agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)," said Ron Swanda, GAMA’s Interim President. "Today’s press reports would have the reader believe that nothing has been done regarding general aviation security. Nothing could be further from the truth. The report referenced in the press is a result of industry working with federal security agencies in sharing threat information. In fact, this assessment was completed at the request of and released to the civil aviation community."

The actions the general aviation industry has taken since September 11, 2001 have been well coordinated with all federal security agencies. As an example, last year the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued general aviation airport security guidelines, which tailored security around the broad range of small general aviation airports. "The government recognized that one size does not fit all in security and determined that for general aviation a set of government endorsed, industry best practices would be best suited," said Swanda.

Similarly, regulatory changes have addressed specific areas of general aviation including mandating passenger screening for large charter operations, background checks and registering of non-U.S. flight students, and a requirement for pilots to carry a government-issued photo ID.

"We will continue to work with the federal government to improve general aviation security based on risk based threat-vulnerability assessments," said Swanda.


GAMA noted that the following changes have been made to general aviation security:

  1. New security procedures, including passenger screening, has been mandated by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for charter operations involving aircraft weighing more than 12,500 lbs.
  2. Foreign registered general aviation aircraft must be approved by the TSA and submit a complete passenger manifest before they are allowed to enter the United States.
  3. All non-U.S. citizens seeking flight training in the U.S. on aircraft weighing more than 12,500 pounds must first undergo a TSA background check. All flight students must register with the TSA when starting training.
  4. The federal government, working with aviation community, has released general aviation airport security guidelines designed to establish best practices for general aviation security.
  5. Industry has developed an Airport Watch program at general aviation airports and details about the program have been mailed to every active pilot in the U.S. TSA staffs a toll-free hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (1-866-GA-SECURE) for reporting suspicious activity at general aviation airports.
  6. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) now requires that pilots carry a government-issued photo ID along with their pilot ‘s license whenever they operate an aircraft. The federal government has also searched the FAA ‘s Airmen and Aircraft registries for persons believed to be a security risk.
  7. GAMA has developed guidelines to help aircraft sellers identify unusual financial transactions that could indicate attempts to launder money via the purchase of aircraft, or otherwise suspicious customer behavior.

Communications Director:
Andre Castro:
General Aviation Manufacturers Association
Headquarters: (+1) 202-393-1500
European Office: (+32) 2 550-3900

GAMA exists to foster and advance the general welfare, safety, interests, and activities of the global business and general aviation industry. This includes promoting a better understanding of general aviation manufacturing, maintenance, repair, and overhaul and the important role these industry segments play in economic growth and opportunity, and in serving the critical transportation needs of communities, companies, and individuals worldwide.