DHS Launches Initiatives To Strengthen Private Aircraft Security
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced new efforts to further improve aircraft security in the United States. DHS is working to strengthen security associated with private aircraft by publishing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) which will require more detailed information about arriving and departing private aircraft and persons onboard within a timeframe necessary to assess the risks that certain flights may pose to national security.
DHS is working through U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to identify and vet passengers and crew on inbound and outbound international private aircraft, generally defined as non-commercial flights.
“This rule is designed to further protect the nation by improving our ability to identify threats on flights to and from the United States,” says Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. “We have a similar rule in place that allows us to assess the risk of commercial aircraft passengers on these flights and we are now taking steps to expand that capability to include passengers on international flights by private aircraft.”
The NPRM, Advanced Information on Private Aircraft Arriving and Departing the United States, expands existing regulations that will require pilots of private aircraft to provide electronic manifest data for all persons traveling onboard to the U.S. Government one hour prior to departure to and from the United States by filing manifest data via CBP’s eAPIS system or an approved alternate system.
The NPRM would require operators of private aircraft to provide the following information no less than 60 minutes prior to departure from or to a foreign port or place: advance notice of arrival, complete passenger and crew manifest data and aircraft information to foster aircraft identification, tracking and communication.
DHS is considering a phased approach to implement the proposed security measures. Under Phase I, DHS will publish the NPRM to elicit public comments prior to issuance of a final rule and implementation of the new requirements. Under Phase II, and in close cooperation with the private aircraft owners and operators as well as foreign partners, DHS will develop methods and processes to address additional security vulnerabilities for international private aircraft operations at their last point of departure prior to entering U.S. airspace.
The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is currently available at dhs.gov and will soon be published in the Federal Register. Once published, persons wishing to comment on the proposed rule may access the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal at regulations.gov and follow the instructions for submitting comments. Submissions must include the agency name and docket number: “USCBP 2007-0064.”