Background Checks for Corporate Jets Proposed by TSA

A proposal to start conducting background checks on anyone involved with corporate jet flights is already causing trouble.

The Transportation Security Administration is proposing that passengers on corporate jets undergo background checks. The checks would include checking passengers against terrorist watch lists, the same process airline passengers face, but no physical screening. According to an article by USA Today, flight crews would face criminal record checks.

The proposal would regulate 15,000 corporate jets and 315 airports that serve private planes. The move would have no affect on 150,000 smaller, piston-engine planes and the 5,000 small private-use airports that serve them.

Opponents of the proposal think the background checks would increase travel delays and cause violation of privacy issues. The National Business Aviation Association estimates that jet owners would face tens of thousands of dollars in costs to complete background checks and security audits.

Private pilots and business groups have sent the TSA more than 4,000 protest e-mails since the proposal came about, with about 1,500 e-mails coming in last week. This represents the largest public opposition to an aviation-security proposal since the TSA was formed in 2003. Even the Alaska Senate has asked the TSA to drop the proposal.

"There's a visceral type of reaction to this," Andy Cebula, head of government affairs for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, said in the article. "Our members are saying, I'm a good American, I'm not a threat to our country. Why is there a presumption that somehow I'm a threat and I've got to prove myself innocent?"

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