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Aviation Safety: Regulation, the Bad and the Good

The threat of war, terrorism, an economic recession and SARS have created a time of great uncertainty for the aviation industry.


October 2, 2007
By Steve Leslie

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The threat of war, terrorism, an economic recession and SARS have
created a time of great uncertainty for the aviation industry. The last
two years have presented a seemingly endless list of bad news,
bankruptcies, layoffs and crises. Despite the uncertainty, business
aviation seems to have weathered the economic downturn and the events
of 9/11/01 better than most.

Case in point. The Canadian Business Aviation Association (CBAA) and
the US-based National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) say that up
to half of their members report “the same or greater activity than
before 9/11.” Even the scandals that have rocked Wall Street and Bay
Street have had minimal effect on corporate aviation departments.
Ironically, the lack of public trust in private business and large
corporations appears to have been a boost to corporate aviation, with
face-toface contact becoming the key to rebuilding trust. Business
aviation provides clients with safe and secure transport without the
hassles of the airlines.

That same hassle-free environment,
however, does not always extend to the operator. The growth and
recovery of the aviation industry risks being smothered by some very
narrow-minded government officials. Conversely, the industry can be
helped along through some fresh thinking. This column provides examples
of both.

Access Denied
With the recent introduction of
the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) and its sister
agency, the US-based Transportation Security Administration (TSA),
business aviation has been presented with some serious challenges.
Aircraft can be excellent business tools when they fly, but when they
don’t fly they represent liabilities. If aircraft sit in a hangar
because they cannot get access to airspace or airports, they become
marginal investments.Access is the key and security determines access.
Unfortunately, business aviation is now faced with more bureaucracy, as
access to airspace and airports today is no longer controlled by the
FAA but by the TSA.

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After September 11 2001, corporate aviation
bore the brunt of new security restrictions. This despite the fact that
corporate flight departments have been practising the highest levels of
security for decades. Now, the challenge is to document those practices
and communicate them effectively to the TSA, so it will recognize right
of access.