NATA, PAMA MEMBERS MEET
foremost as industry gears up for convention
by Lindsay M. Hitch
AIRPORT BUSINESS spoke with the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) and the Professional Aviation Maintenance Association (PAMA) about issues in preparation for the AS3 show, March 26-28 in Indianapolis. At the forefront of members' concerns: evolving security requirements, economic relief, training initiatives, new maintenance regulations, and community relations.
ONE STEP AHEAD
The general aviation community is still awaiting specific security regulations for its operations. In an effort to provide guidance to FAA on practical security legislation, NATA is working on several initiatives, including the Business Aviation Security Task Force.
"Security continues to remain a question," says David Kennedy, manager of government and industry affairs for NATA. "The entire security apparatus has been, and appropriately [so], built around the scheduled air carriers."
"There's a concern out there about, 'Is this going to trickle down? Is there going to be more legislation that's going to require additional security at parts of the airport that at this point in time don't require security?'" asks David Schober, manager of governmental and technical affairs for PAMA. "As of now there's nothing on the horizon, but that's not to say that something doesn't pop up somewhere along the line."
"The traveling public is crying for security measures, but on the other side of it ... specifically with small airplanes, there really is no way that we've been able to define where security could be effective," says Schober. "The security issue is one of those things that's going to be on for a while."
A report on general aviation security was mandated as part of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act; DOT conducted the review. Kennedy says that the report essentially says, 'GA covers a broad range of aviation and will be difficult to regulate.' NATA is encouraging its members to be proactive when it comes to security, otherwise FAA and Congress will get involved and the industry probably won't like their answers.
The FBI visited many flight schools shortly after September 11. "I would say without exception I did not get a complaint about that involvement. Everybody really said, 'Yes, let's sit down and look at the records ... What do you guys need?' And they worked really hard to do that," says Kennedy.
"The question I keep getting asked is 'Who's in the airplane?'" relates Kennedy. "How do you control it?"
One component in aviation security is the physical security of the facility and the airport itself. The other, says Kennedy, is having a relationship with the customer. "It can be a positive thing, because it is about customer service, and it's about building on that. And I think there are ways to do it that are not intrusive but at the same time will help answer that question of, 'Who's in the airplane?'"
The Business Aviation Security Task Force's flight school component met in early February in Vero Beach, FL. The group is working on a program to increase security at flight schools. Part of that program will focus on ensuring only the right people have access to aircraft and flight training. Jim Coyne, president of NATA, says the recommendations from the February meeting will be presented at the convention.
"The events in Tampa have really created a lot of questions about what flight schools should or shouldn't do to improve security," says Coyne. "A lot of people are making very critical remarks about flight school security."
NATA was involved in discussions with FAA regarding security enhancements for flight schools prior to their release in early January. The recommendations closely parallel NATA's Business Aviation Security Task Force suggestions, but Kennedy says NATA is happy that each facility is able to select which it will implement.
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