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"Airport Security Issues"

Wednesday, October 10, 2001

Wednesday Evening Update - Airport Security Issues

Another busy day on Capitol Hill and at the FAA and White House with a
number of developments relative to airport security issues.  The
following is a brief summary of the day's activities:

Deployment of National Guard 

Following on yesterday's meeting with DOT officials on the National
Guard issue (as well as on reimbursement for airport law enforcement
expenses), we met earlier today with the FAA official in charge of the
Guard issue and with White House staff from the domestic policy team.
We understand that the White House today sent letters to the governors
asking for their assessment of how the National Guard deployment is
working.  Answers are due back to the White House tomorrow, so you
should act now to contact your governor with specific recommendations.
We are cautiously optimistic that the White House will allow some
greater flexibility with how the Guard is utilized at airports.    

Senate Airport Security Bill 

The Senate continues to make slow progress on airport security
legislation (for bill details, see Alert 

Number 123:
As we have previously reported, a host of issues from the specifics of
federalization of screeners to non-related issues such as worker
assistance and Amtrak funding have slowed debate over the past several
days.  Many of those items still remain on the table, leaving the
prospects for quick action dim.  The discussion did, however, intensify
today with a number of floor speeches by key senators.  You can view
clips of several of these speeches by visiting the AAAE/ACI-NA
Legislative Affairs video library at:

In addition to making some progress on airport issues today, we managed
to put out a few fires as well.   Here's a brief look:

Airport Concessionaires - Earlier in the day, it looked as if a few
senators would offer an amendment that would have required airports as a
condition to receiving any federal financial assistance to meet and
confer with all retail food and beverage concessionaires at its airport
facility to discuss direct financial losses suffered by the
concessionaires and potential assistance from airport authorities to
airport concessionaires.  Among other things, this amendment would put
airports in the position of being forced to renegotiate existing
contracts.  In the end, we were successful in pushing for weaker
"Sense-of-the-Senate" language that will encourage airports to meet with
concessionaires to evaluate their situation and discuss potential
airport assistance.  We also suggested that legislation introduced in
the past several days to provide small business loans and other
assistance to business adversely affected by the attacks would be a more
appropriate vehicle for discussing concessionaire concerns.    

300-Foot Rule - Several offices continue to express an interest in
tackling this issue legislatively via an amendment to the Senate bill.
Whether or not that happens in the end, the potential for congressional
involvement and our continued efforts have apparently moved the FAA
forward toward a more flexible approach to the 300-foot requirements.
Although we don't have specifics to report at the moment, it is clear
that our ongoing efforts with the FAA and the Hill are creating pressure
to consider changes.     

Reimbursement for Security Costs - Unfortunately, there is not a lot new
to report here.  While the Senate bill provides an authorization for
security costs and language to give airports AIP/PFC flexibility for a
limited time to meet additional costs, direct reimbursement does not
appear to be gaining momentum.  We continue to push for direct federal
assistance in every single office we meet with, and we hope you will
continue to urge your congressional delegation to work to include direct
reimbursement as part of a final airport security package.  

House Airport Security Legislation 

The House is still at an impasse on its version of the airport security
bill for many of the same reasons as the Senate.  Tomorrow, Chip
Barclay, David Plavin, Todd Hauptli, David Yudin with the City of
Chicago, former Representative Scott Klug and Tom Devine with the law
firm Foley and Lardner, will meet with Speaker of the House Dennis
Hastert (R-Ill.).  We will obviously have more to report after this
important meeting.  

Also in the House, there are rumblings about the possibility of levying
a security fee on airline tickets that would be used at the airport to
offset additional law enforcement and security-related costs.  This idea
faces a steep hill politically, but it does illustrate the willingness
in some quarters to address airport expenses.  Again, we are focused on
direct reimbursement for security costs and continue to press the House
to include an authorization and appropriation for such purposes as part
of their bill.  We hope you will press your House members to support
direct reimbursement as part of any airport security bill.   

Tomorrow, the House Aviation Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the use
of aviation security technology.  The Committee plans to have a link to
audio from the hearing on their website tomorrow morning.   The link
should be available on the Committee's site at

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