Only one theme park in the country gets a federally enforced no-fly zone, and a Texas congressman wants to know why.
U.S. Rep. Troy Nehls (R–Richmond) sent a letter Monday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and the Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, asking why Disney’s properties in Florida and California are afforded the federally enforced prohibition on flights in the viewing area of the parks.
“No other theme parks have restrictions on airspace, including neighboring competitors like Universal Studios,” wrote Nehls.
The ability of the Federal Aviation Administration to establish no-fly zone designations for security purposes was established in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
So, while the federal rules are allegedly due to security concerns, explains Nehls, experts “have long questioned the security rationale” for them, with competitors alleging Disney—in the words of the Orlando Sentinel—has manipulated “the nation’s terrorism fear for one clear commercial aim: to close public airspace over its parks as a way to ban competitors’ aerial advertising planes and sightseeing helicopters.”
Nehls adds, “While it’s unclear what makes Disney’s properties a unique security risk, the financial benefits are clear. This may be why in 2003, Disney’s spokesperson acknowledged that the flight restrictions would promote the ‘enjoyment’ of their guests by eliminating ‘banner ads from trial lawyers’ and aircraft ‘buzzing the parks.'”
“Given that almost 20 years have passed since the designation of these ‘temporary’ flight restrictions and the long-standing controversy around their creation, I ask that the House reconsider their appropriateness.”
Why does @Disney get special treatment?
Today, I sent two letters to @SpeakerPelosi and @SecretaryPete asking them whether or not they supported the “No-Fly Zones” over Disney’s theme parks considering no other theme parks in the country received the same preferential treatment. pic.twitter.com/OlSeVk1zWV
— Congressman Troy Nehls (@RepTroyNehls) May 2, 2022