Release #12.08
February 13, 2012

Proposed Budget Cuts Risk FFDOs’ Powerful Contribution to Aviation Security
Highly Cost-Effective Federal Flight Deck Officer Program Must Be Adequately Funded

WASHINGTON – Capt. Lee Moak, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), offered the following statement today regarding proposed federal budget cuts that would undermine the Federal Air Marshal Service and also severely impact the already underfunded Federal Flight Deck Officer program.

“The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), is concerned that the President’s 2013 budget recommends funding cuts of approximately $36 million from the Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS) and $13 million from the Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) program.

“We appreciate the inherent difficulties of reducing our federal budget deficit. However, the result of this proposed budget cut would be a reduction in the number of federal air marshals currently assigned to front-line duties protecting airline flights, and it would nearly cut in half the funds dedicated to the FFDO program. The FFDO program is a critical and cost-efficient airline security program staffed by thousands of fully trained and deputized ALPA pilot volunteers, who already make great personal and professional sacrifices to secure our flight decks. In light of its already minimal funding levels, any budget reduction to the FFDO program could very well lead to its ultimate demise.

“Nearly a decade ago, ALPA played a vital role in the development and implementation of the Federal Flight Deck Officer program, and we are more committed now to the success of the program than ever before. ALPA pilots are the last layer of defense for our commercial airline flights.

“I have already contacted Transportation Security Administration Administrator John Pistole to discuss our concern about these proposed budget cuts and anticipate meeting with him shortly. The FFDO program is an essential component of transportation security and has often been praised by the TSA for the additional layer of protection it brings to our skies.

“ALPA is already engaged in a legislative plan of action in support of the FFDO program, including working with Congress to adequately fund this critical aviation security program.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing more than 53,000 pilots at 37 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at


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