Washington Times quotes Jim Burnley on new U.S. airspace rules

2 min

Venable partner and former Secretary of Transportation Jim Burnley was quoted in a July 11 Washington Times story about new Transportation Security Administration (TSA) rules that will, by the end of the year, require passenger information for all international flights that pass over the U.S. - even those that never touch down on American soil.

The policy applies to all countries, but will have a particular impact on Canada, where a high percentage of international flights must to pass over U.S. territory.

The new "Secure Flight" system, which will require airlines to submit personal information about passengers traveling through U.S. airspace 72 hours before departure, has drawn the ire of many in Canada, who call the new rules an affront to Canadian sovereignty.

However, Homeland Security officials contend that the United States has the right to refuse any aircraft entry into its airspace for security reasons, based on the internationally recognized Convention on International Civil Aviation.

Burnley concurred, telling the Times that the fundamental premise of international aviation law is that each country has domain over its airspace.

"My fundamental reaction to [Canadian concerns] is, are you kidding?" he said. "After 9/11, how could anyone in Canada question the desire of the U.S. government to know who are on aircraft flying in U.S. airspace? It seems to me a very straightforward proposition."