TSA Still Wants More GA Flights to Washington’s DCA

Ronald Reagan National Airport,
Washington DC

Current security rules permit up to 48 general aviation flights per day to Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA). But not even close to that many operations actually take place, even though restrictions have been relaxed since the airport was all but closed to GA after the September 11 attacks. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has gone on record as hoping to change that disparity. Last June, Brian Delauter, general manager for GA within the TSA expressed the goal of increasing the use of the airport. He called a summit of aviation and government stakeholders, including AOPA, NBAA and representatives from some of the flight departments that currently fly to DCA. The meeting was a good exchange of ideas and a cooperative atmosphere prevailed, he said. Chief among the barriers to using the airport is complying with the DCA Access Standard Security Program (DASSP), a combination of requirements for ensuring adequate security on aircraft flying to the airport. Delauter said he's working to streamline that process. Among other barriers has been the number of approved "gateway" airport from which aircraft may depart on their flights to DCA. There are now more than 30, including recently added Nashville.

Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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