January 22, 2020

Keeping the Pressure on with KCM—and Making Progress

ALPA Members: 

I am pleased to report that ALPA held a very productive meeting recently with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Airlines for America (A4A) leaders to drive home the urgent need to address faults in how the Known Crewmember (KCM) program is currently implemented. While there is still more work to be done, we’re making progress.

As is now posted on the KCM website and the ALPA app, the TSA has communicated to its federal security directors a new, standard process to follow in the event an airline pilot is randomly selected for additional screening while using the KCM program:

  • If a KCM pilot who is randomly selected for additional screening is wearing a uniform, the pilot can proceed to the front of the PreCheck line for additional screening.
  • If a KCM pilot who is randomly selected for additional screening is not wearing a uniform, the pilot can proceed to the PreCheck line for additional screening by entering the back of the line.

This clear and consistent policy has been implemented by TSA’s security operations personnel nationwide and is an important outcome of our meeting. We appreciate TSA’s efforts to improve KCM with this change, but we all know that there is more work to be done to return the program to its former state of usefulness and reliability for authorized crewmembers.

Please know that ALPA’s national officer team empathizes with your frustration. We recognize that this situation causes stress, introduces distraction, and moves our industry in the wrong direction at a time when the global environment demands maximizing a risk-based concept in aviation security.

We also recognize that your frustration goes well beyond your negative personal experience using KCM on your way to work. Like each of you, we realize that the current flawed implementation of the valuable KCM program is an affront to its tremendous potential to make flying more secure for our passengers and cargo. After all, ALPA pilots understand the program’s potential because our union conceived of and developed it, and we serve as trusted partners in its implementation.

During our meeting with TSA and A4A, ALPA called on the administration to make additional improvements to KCM implementation. Our recommendations include a review of the randomization selection rate with the goal of maintaining the highest possible level of security and reflecting the comprehensive vetting airline pilots receive, as well as our role as critical elements in a risk-based approach to aviation security.

In addition to the positive action to standardize KCM processes and procedures across airports, the three KCM partners—TSA, A4A, and ALPA—agreed to meet regularly to exchange information and work on additional areas of needed improvement. As always, current data helps us illustrate the problems. If you’ve experienced a KCM checkpoint issue or do so on a continuing basis, please contact your MEC security chair or coordinator or the ALPA Engineering and Air Safety Department (EAS@alpa.org, 800-424-2470).

ALPA firmly believes that it is in the interest of everyone who relies on air transportation to harness KCM’s potential to create a more secure and efficient air transportation system in the United States. But ALPA cannot achieve this alone. The TSA and A4A must fulfill their roles as partners in eliminating the current implementation flaws and restoring the value of this highly effective program.

You have my commitment that this union will seize every opportunity to reach out, meet, engage, and collaborate with TSA, A4A, and our industry colleagues to improve the way you get to work using KCM and, equally important, to make ever stronger the security of air transportation in the United States.

In unity,

Capt. Joe DePete
ALPA President