General Aviation Operations
Present a Limited Threat to Security; However, Steady Vigilance Must Be
The current status of GA operations does not present a serious homeland security vulnerability requiring TSA to increase regulatory oversight of
the industry. According to OI, there is no specific, credible information of ongoing plots to use GA in an attack in the near future. Other government agencies, including GAO and the Congressional Research Service, have examined catastrophic scenarios and have concluded that the GA industry does not represent a serious vulnerability (see appendix D).
In addition, TSA has worked cooperatively with the industry to establish guidelines and voluntary measures designed to target the most serious vulnerabilities, including screening pilots and restricting access to airspace over urban areas and key infrastructure (see appendixes B and C). TSA is creating new regulations but has been cautious to balance potential costs— and the GA industry’s established history of implementing security improvements voluntarily—against the benefits of a regulatory regime. For these reasons, we conclude that TSA’s response to threats in the GA sector has been appropriate, and we are making no recommendations for additional measures in this review. Nonetheless, TSA and the GA industry must continue to be vigilant.
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