TSA names Hanscom Field as gateway for general aviation access to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport

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National Press Release
Wednesday, February 21, 2007

WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration today named Hanscom Field (BED) in Bedford, MA the newest gateway airport for Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).  That designation allows certain pre-cleared general aviation operations, including corporate aircraft, charter flights, and on-demand operations, to fly directly from Hanscom Field to DCA.

Currently, TSA allows general aviation flights that meet criteria of the DCA Access Standard Security Program to land at DCA.  Aircraft must arrive from one of 19 gateway airports, including BED, after flight crews have been vetted and passengers screened. 

“The addition of Hanscom Field as a new gateway airport gives general aviation travelers one more option to access the Washington, D.C. region,” said Dirk Ahle, TSA’s acting general manager for general aviation.  “We appreciate the support of our industry partners who work with TSA to ensure stringent security requirements are maintained.”

The access program was developed in July 2005 in coordination with other components of the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Transportation and the Department of Defense.  It allows up to 48 general aviation flights into DCA per day, and addresses the unique aviation security needs in the national capitol region by requiring all aircraft to meet standards set by TSA.  These measures include:

  • Advanced registration and qualification of operators and crews seeking to operate at DCA.
  • TSA inspection of crew and passengers.
  • TSA inspection of property (accessible and checked) and aircraft.
  • Identification checks of passengers by TSA.
  • Submission of passenger and crew manifests 24 hours in advance of flight.
  • Enhanced background checks for all passengers and fingerprint-based criminal history record checks for flight crew.
  • An armed security officer on board each flight, authorized to use force.
  • All operations subject to cancellation at any time.  Increases in the national Threat Level in the Washington, D.C. area or in the vicinity of the gateway airports, will require all general aviation operations into and out of DCA to cease.

In addition to Hanscom Field; Port Columbus; Dulles International; Bradley International; Dallas/Love Field; Memphis, Tenn.; Milwaukee’s General Mitchell; Seattle-Tacoma; Boston Logan; Houston Hobby; White Plains, N.Y.; LaGuardia, N.Y.; Chicago Midway; Minneapolis/St.Paul; West Palm Beach, Fla.; San Francisco; Teterboro, N.J.; Philadelphia; Lexington, Ky.; and Reagan Washington National serve as gateway airports.