U.S. to require advance manifest data for general aviation
Private aircraft entering or leaving the United States would have to provide more pre-arrival and departure information to the government under final rules issued last week by the Department of Homeland Security.
The effort follows similar advance information requirements for commercial aircraft passengers and ocean cargo as the department begins to place more emphasis on other areas beyond maritime container security.
The final rule, which goes into effect Dec. 18, will require pilots of private aircraft to send Customs and Border Protection electronic manifest data for all passengers and crew traveling onboard. The information must be sent one hour prior to departure for flights arriving into or departing from the United States by filing manifest data through the Electronic Advanced Passenger Information System or an approved alternate system.
Under current practice, private pilots send manifest and flight information to CBP after departure. The new rules are designed to give CBP adequate time to screen the names against terrorism and intelligence lists for potential threats.
The Transportation Security Administration also recently issued a notice of proposed rulemaking for large private aircraft that would harmonize their security requirements with those for large charter and commercial operations.
Responding to critics who want DHS to pour more effort into container and port security, Secretary Michael Chertoff said, “If you're going to put a nuclear bomb or dirty bomb on a container on a ship, it would be just as easy, maybe easier, to lease a private plan and put it on the private plane. And there, of course, you don't even have to land. You just detonate the bomb over an American city.”
As an interim solution started early last year, CBP officers go over every international general aviation aircraft that arrives with handheld radiation detectors.
“The solution here is to pre-clear, to do this scanning for nuclear material outside the country before a plane departs to take the final trip that will bring it into U.S. air space. And that’s why we are working with the private sector and our international partners to move this screening and vetting of passengers and aircraft, and particular the screening of aircraft for dangerous material, overseas to the point of departure,” Chertoff said, according to a transcript of his remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. ' Eric Kulisch