Washington -- The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has proposed requiring foreign air carriers that fly to and from the United States to use the same security measures currently required of U.S. air carriers.
Since 1991 the FAA has required foreign airlines to have the same level of security as domestic airlines only on certain routes where the risk of danger was higher. The new security level was mandated by Congress in 1996 to further increase security measures for foreign air carriers flying to and from the United States, the FAA said in a press release November 20.
"Under the proposed rule, the FAA would amend each affected foreign air carrier's security program to require identical security measures," the FAA said.
The FAA said it is permitting public comment on the proposed rule changes until February 24, 1999.
Following is the text of the press release:
FAA PROPOSES IDENTICAL SECURITY MEASURES FOR FOREIGN AIR CARRIERS
November 20, 1998
Washington -- The Federal Aviation Administration today proposed to require foreign air carriers flying to and from the United States to implement security measures identical to those required of U.S. air carriers serving the same airports.
Since 1991, the agency has ensured similar levels of protection by requiring foreign air carriers on these routes to implement additional security measures where warranted by elevated threat levels. Today's proposal to require identical measures was mandated by Congress in 1996 to further increase security measures for foreign air carriers flying to and from the United States.
Under the proposed rule, the FAA would amend each affected foreign air carrier's security program to require identical security measures. The agency will use Annex 17 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, which prescribes international standards and recommended practices for civil aviation security, as a baseline. All foreign air carriers flying into and out of the United States already are required to meet or exceed this standard. At airports where security beyond the Annex 17 standard is warranted, the agency would determine additional measures required for both U.S. and foreign air carriers. The proposal in no way would restrict the agency's ability to impose additional security on any airline at any time to meet a particular threat.
All interested parties, both domestic and foreign, will be able to comment on the proposal over the next 120 days, and a public hearing is scheduled for Feb. 24, 1999.
The FAA has been working steadily to improve civil aviation security. Both the Aviation Security Improvement Act of 1990 and recommendations from the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security in 1997 have served as roadmaps for the security regime now in place to meet the level of threat.
Highlights of the current FAA program include the deployment of agency security personnel overseas and at the nation's major airports, the hiring of hundreds of aviation security specialists, a robust research and development program in explosives-detection technologies and aircraft "hardening" against blast effects, a new automated passenger screening program, expanded passenger bag matching, and computer-based training and performance monitoring for security checkpoint screeners.
In addition, the FAA and the aviation industry have been working over the last two years on the world's largest deployment of aviation security equipment, including 74 FAA-certified explosives detection systems and nearly 400 trace explosive detection devices. The agency and the air carriers will continue to deploy more equipment over the next few years while the air carriers ensure that personnel who operate the equipment are fully trained and adequately monitored.