RealNews

Small Aviation Seeks National Airport Access

Ease on Flying Restrictions Urged. Lawmakers, pilots and aviation industry lobbyists yesterday pressed federal officials to reopen Reagan National Airport to small private aircraft and recreational charter flights, arguing that the 21/2-year ban has hurt the local economy. The Bush administration’s top security officials ordered the airport closed to small noncommercial aircraft after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The flights have been restricted because of National’s proximity to landmarks such as the Pentagon, the U.S. Capitol and the White House. Security for small private planes and their pilots is less stringent than for the major commercial airlines. Pilots and lobbyists for the charter industry have offered to have small planes abide by strict security procedures, such as having an armed law enforcement officer aboard every flight. But the proponents said their efforts are stymied by a lack of clarity about which agency or officials have the authority to allow the flights to resume. Full Story

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