Release #: 18.36
September 27, 2018

ALPA Calls for Policy Action to Enhance Aviation Security

Testifies Before U.S. House Subcommittee on Insider Threat to Cargo and Passenger Flights

WASHINGTON, D.C.—In testimony today before the U.S. House Transportation and Protective Security Subcommittee, the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) commended the recent aviation security improvements led by Congress, but underscored that insider threats to both passenger and all-cargo flight operations remain a serious concern.

“ALPA appreciates the leadership of Chairman Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) and Ranking Member Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) and the subcommittee’s interest in reducing the real threat posed by anyone with intent to harm while working inside the air transportation system,” said Capt. Tim Canoll, ALPA’s president, who testified at the hearing.

In testimony, ALPA described an “insider” in aviation as someone with authorization and unescorted access to secured airport areas such as the security identification display area known as the “SIDA.” Insider threats, which can result from such causes as malicious intent, complacency, or a lack of awareness, involve actions such as the aircraft theft that occurred recently near Seattle–Tacoma International Airport.

ALPA’s testimony noted the danger posed to passenger and cargo flights as well as to communities on the ground. The union called on Congress to help achieve one level of security for passenger and cargo flight operations with swift policy action that includes

  • requiring reinforced cockpit doors and adequate secondary cockpit barriers on every cargo aircraft,
  • requiring that all cargo operations be conducted in the SIDA,
  • requiring cargo-specific security training where it is inadequate, and
  • requiring fingerprint-based criminal history records checks for anyone with access to cargo aircraft or their cockpits.

In the union’s testimony, the organization noted that the United States made a quantum leap in aviation security when the Transportation Security Administration adopted a risk-based approach to replace the one-size-fits-all security paradigm that was in place on 9/11. Since then, ALPA has been pleased with the TSA’s efforts to seek the perspective of airline pilots, who are on the front lines of aviation security.

“While rare, serious insider threats exist in both passenger and all-cargo flight operations,” Capt. Canoll concluded. “ALPA stands ready to continue to work with the airline industry to help ensure that all sectors of commercial aviation are protected from external and internal threats.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the largest airline pilot union in the world and represents over 60,000 pilots at 34 U.S. and Canadian airlines. Visit the ALPA website at or follow us on Twitter @WeAreALPA.


CONTACT: ALPA Media, 703-481-4440 or