ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. --
Some private pilots indicate while the skies remain friendly, they can't say the same for the nation's airports.
New mandates by the Transportation Security Administration require badges and background checks for all airport employees at commercial service airports, even those employees and pilots not working in the commercial airline industry.
It would apply to general aviation pilots who fly into any of the 14 commercial airports in Colorado.
Officials at DIA said the new rules would have minimal there, because its employees who have access to restricted areas already undergo intense screening and background checks.
But managers at smaller airports, like Grand Junction, Aspen and Fort Collins/Loveland said they don't have the time, money or resources to implement and enforce the new rules.
“It would be totally impossible to administer. The way the rules are written, we would practically have to badge every citizen of the U.S.,” said David Gordon, airport manager at Fort Collins/Loveland.
"General aviation is all about freedom," said Dennis Heap, executive director of aviation at Front Range Airport. Front Range Airport would not be affected, because it is not a commercial service airport. But, many of the general aviation pilots who fly into and out of Front Range also use commercial airports.
"We are not the enemy," said former commercial airline pilot Dennis Koontz. “It’s going to ruin the backbone of aviation.”
"When we've already got an economy in trouble, why would we further depress it by further regulating general aviation which is a proven economic generator," said Heap. “It’s nuts.”
The TSA has reportedly said this new screening will match pilots and employees against terrorist databases and also checks for things like open warrants and a person's immigration status.
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