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FAA begins to restore bizjet privacy
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 18:00

FAA-to-restore-bizjet-privacyFAA has begun accepting and implementing direct requests from aircraft owners seeking to block their registration information from near-real-time flight-tracking programs, the agency says.

The agency on Dec. 16 published a notice formally announcing its plans to restore the Block Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) program, which had been significantly scaled back last summer at the behest of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

FAA in June issued a policy limiting BARR participation to only those operators who could demonstrate a valid security concern. But industry groups complained that the bar for a valid security concern was so high that few could participate.

Congress in November essentially mandated FAA to remove the newly instituted restrictions on the program. The congressional measure was included in the fiscal 2012 transportation appropriations minibus bill and signed into law Nov. 18.

“In light of this appropriation language, the FAA is withdrawing the policy that it published on June 3, which required owners or operators to submit a ‘Certified Security Concern’ in order to have their aircraft blocked from the public’s view,” the agency says. “The FAA will not reinstate those limitations on aircraft owners or operators.”

The agency plans to propose specific procedures for aircraft owners and operators to request that their tail numbers be withheld from flight-tracking programs. The proposal, FAA says, is expected to be released in early 2012 and comments will be invited. But in the interim, the agency says it is honoring requests to block the data. FAA warns that aircraft owners may need to resubmit their block requests once formal procedures are established.

Further, companies that had demonstrated a Certified Security Concern will continue to be under the program. “FAA will specifically address the future treatment of those aircraft in its upcoming proposed and final procedures,” the agency says.

FAA plans to amend its memorandum of agreement with flight-tracking data providers to reflect the new procedures.

FAA is updating the aircraft block lists on the first Thursday of each month. “It is possible that the volume of requests and their timeliness will preclude the FAA from processing some requests in time for them to take effect during the month following their submission,” the agency says, adding that requests will be processed in the order received.

(Aviation week)

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