In the wake of strong objections from the general aviation community, the Transportation Security Administration has relaxed some of the security restrictions that went into effect June 1 for transient pilots flying into commercial-service airports.
Three days before the new rules took effect the TSA said that transient pilots who fly into commercial-service airports will not need to get an airport badge or background check, let alone a separate one for every such airport they visit. However, the pilots and passengers of such aircraft are “advised” to remain close to the airplane, leaving it only to walk to and from the FBO, service provider or airport exit. The TSA also conceded that it will make provisions for self-fueling operations and grant allowances for emergency situations.
Pilots based at commercial-service airports still will need to have a badge for unescorted access to the airport.
GA groups are supporting a measure in Congress that would require the TSA to secure the aircraft operating area of commercial airports by issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking instead of taking unilateral action through a security directive.