For Immediate Release
May 27, 2011
Contact: FAA Press Office
Phone: (202) 267-3883
The public will soon have greater access to on-line information about the flight paths of general aviation aircraft, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced today. The change will be effective 60 days from publication in the Federal Register.
Operators of general aviation aircraft no longer will be able to cite privacy as a reason to prevent the public from viewing their flight information on Internet sites that show the registration number, flight path, departure point and destination, and flight length for all aircraft operations over the United States. In the future, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will block public viewing of this information only after the operators certify that they have a valid security concern. As before, neither the sites nor the aircraft owner or operator will disclose the identity of persons on the flight, the purpose of the flight or the reason for the security concern.
“This action is in keeping with the Obama administration’s commitment to transparency in government,” Secretary LaHood said. “Both general aviation and commercial aircraft use the public airspace and air traffic control facilities, and the public has a right to information about their activities.”
Since 1997, air carriers, corporations that own and operate aircraft, professional aviation organizations and government agencies have had access to the real-time flight information of both airlines and general aviation through the Aircraft Situational Display to Industry (ASDI) and National Airspace System Status Information (NASSI) websites. Other members of the public have been able to subscribe to this information with the data delayed five minutes for security reasons. While commercial air carriers’ schedules are available to the public, the operations of general aviation aircraft cannot be tracked except through one of these electronic systems.
In the future, the only way operators and owners of general aviation aircraft will be able to block displays of their flight information is by providing the FAA written certification that revealing this to the public would pose a valid security threat.
Today’s amendment makes final a proposal issued on March 1.