A new Transportation Security Administration directive requiring pilots and support personnel to pass background checks at any of Colorado’s 13 commercial airports where they may work, has left airport administrators and private pilots wondering how they’ll manage costs and the logistics according to an April 7 Denver Post story.
Rex Tippetts, director of aviation at Grand Junction’s Walker Field, said that security directive 8F will require him to provide 2,000 additional security checks and badges. “It’s out of control,” he told the Post. “We have a large maintenance operation here with 400 people. We have a large inter-agency fire-fighting operation here, with maintenance facilities. It’s an unfunded mandate we have to comply with,” he said. “We had to hire people just to comply with it.”
James Elwood, director of Sardy Field in Aspen, called it “an onerous regulation” for both the airport and the people it affects. “It will be time-consuming and difficult to accomplish,” he said. “The TSA has been increasing their burdens on airports consistently. We’re frustrated, but understand that the TSA is trying to do its job as well.”
Directive 8F applies only to the 13 commercial airports in Colorado that have regularly scheduled passenger and freight flights: DIA, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Alamosa, Durango, Cortez, Telluride, Montrose, Grand Junction, Aspen, Eagle, Steamboat Springs and Fort Collins/Loveland.
The directive has only been released to airport managers, who are charged with implementing the procedures on their own. A TSA spokeswoman, Carrie Harmon, would not release a copy of the directive to The Denver Post. Instead, she wrote that all personnel with access to the secure areas of the airports, including private pilots, must undergo a Security Threat Assessment, which includes matching the employees against the terrorist screening database, a check for lawful immigration status and a check for open warrants. “Secure areas” was not defined, but is generally perceived to be the areas that airplanes and fuel trucks have access to.
Separate badges are required for each of the airports. Transient pilots without badges, or with a badge from a different airport, must be escorted through the secure areas, whether to the fuel pumps, to maintenance hangars or to gates. That applies to their passengers and guests, as well.
To read the full story: www.denverpost.com/search/ci_12079380