As news outlets picked up on ProPublica's February story on Freedom of Information disclosure of blocked aircraft registrations, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) stepped up to make a case for its Block Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) program.
Senior vice president of communications Dan Hubbard told USA Today that "privacy is important to business fliers because competitors can learn of potential deals by tracking airplanes." As NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen reminded CNBC, "Companies use these airplanes to do things that can't be done on airlines. They're flying to cities without commercial air service; they're doing three or four cities a day. They're moving products they can't take aboard an airliner."
ProPublica, which describes itself as "an independent, nonprofit newsroom," said it obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration a list of 1,100 blocked airplanes in BARR after it filed a Freedom of Information Act request and a federal judge ruled that the records are public. According to ProPublica, registered owners of blocked aircraft included several college booster clubs and athletic programs, the CEO of Hooters, a televangelist and owners of newspapers, including Gannett, which owns USA Today.