September 19, 2001
ALPA President Testifies On Aviation Security
WASHINGTON, D.C.---As president of the Air Line Pilots Association, International, the world’s largest pilots union, and as executive vice president of the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department, Captain Duane E. Woerth, testified today on aviation security before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
Woerth prefaced his specific recommendations on security improvements by making two general points: 1) The country must embark on a mission to achieve one level of security throughout the airline industry, and 2) All airline security must be viewed as a component of national security from this day forward.
"The security in place last week, was, by design, of differing levels," said Woerth. "The threat posed to domestic flights was thought to be less than that posed to international ones, and the emphasis was on conventional hijackings, rather than suicide missions. These assumptions have been proven wrong. The new security measures that we adopt as a country must be uniformly applied to all sections of our nation’s air transportation system, and I urge the Administration and Congress to ensure that the necessary funding for fortifying our airlines and airports is made available. One of the lessons of this tragedy is that our nation truly does rely on the aviation industry as the wings of our economy — and without a strong airline industry, our economy is in serious trouble."
In addressing specific security recommendations, Woerth called on legislators to take immediate steps to drastically improve aviation security by implementing 21 near-term action items that are either currently under development or could be very shortly. He also called for nine longer-term action items that could be initiated fairly soon, but would take longer to implement.
Installing a deadbolt lock on existing cockpit doors to ensure that doors cannot be opened from the outside with a key led the list of near-term action items. It was quickly followed by the call to develop standards for a new, advanced cockpit door that would protect the flight crew against attacks by would-be cockpit intruders.
"A good deal of research has been done and technology already created for these advanced cockpit doors," said Woerth. We must expedite these efforts, manufacture the fortified new doors and retrofit current aircraft, as well as install them on new aircraft as soon as possible."
Other near-term recommendations called for the installation of at least two stun guns as standard equipment in the cockpits of airline aircraft to be used only in the most extreme circumstances; the positive and electronic identification of all airline and airport employees and armed law enforcement officers authorized to enter secure airport areas; and the immediate revalidation of all airline employee ID cards.
ALPA also advocated a public awareness campaign to educate the traveling public about aviation security. Woerth said, "A better-informed public could serve as additional eyes and ears for security, assist crewmembers as appropriate and deter disruptive passenger behavior. Security is Everybody’s Business."
Among recommendations that Woerth noted would take longer to implement was the establishment of a new aviation law enforcement agency outside the sphere of the Federal Aviation Administration, and a complete overhaul of the U.S. security screening system.
Captain Woerth’s complete testimony can be viewed or downloaded from ALPA’s website at cf.alpa.org.
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ALPA Contacts: Anya Piazza or John Mazor (703) 481-4440