August 11, 2008

TSA Readies New Rules for Private Planes

A move by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to regulate private jets could hamper the convenience of using small airports, industry observers say.

Homeland Security's Transportation Security Agency is preparing new rules for the nations' 4,700 small airports reserved for private jets designed to prevent terrorists from using them in airborne attacks, USA Today reported Monday.

The measures could put a crimp on the airports' attractiveness as an alternative to crowded commercial airlines for those who own the 15,000 private planes that would be affected, the report said.

"The new security proposals must be workable and should strike the right balance between the need for security and for mobility," Dan Hubbard, spokesman for the National Business Aviation Association, a trade group for businesses with private aircraft, told USA Today.

TSA's proposed new regulations would apply to planes that weigh more than 12,500 pounds. They will probably demand background checks for flight crews, parking planes in secure areas and inspecting planes. The new rules are coming after Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff voiced concerns about terrorists using private jets, USA Today reported.