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News Release

Release #01.105
September 27, 2001

ALPA Reaction to President Bush Statement on Airline Security

WASHINGTON, D.C.---The following statement is in response to the announcements made today in Chicago by President Bush regarding government actions to tighten airline security.

Airline pilots applaud the President’s announced actions, which sketched out some of the most urgent priorities for strengthening airline security.

Federalizing the process for screening passengers and related security responsibilities will provide the highest level of security, and make it uniform throughout the system. ALPA believes this responsibility should be given to an agency whose focus is security and law enforcement — and not to the FAA — and we will be working with Congress to create legislation to that effect. We also are working with the government to establish uniforms standards, i.e., the right standards applied consistently throughout the system.

Federal support to deploy National Guard troops at airport security checkpoints will provide critically needed support, especially at smaller airports.

A dramatic increase in Federal Air Marshals will greatly enhance onboard security and act as a deterrent against hijackers planning to take control of an aircraft.

The $500 million in grants to develop and install technological solutions means that we can expedite the development and installation of new hardware and systems. For example, one of ALPA’s first priorities has been installation of secure cockpit doors and locks. We also support research and development of methods to prevent the ability (and the need) to turn off transponders in flight, as well as the use of video cameras in the cabin to warn pilots of any attempts to take control of the aircraft.

Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Next week, two Rapid Response Team task forces will report their findings to DOT Secretary Mineta. (ALPA’s president, Capt. Duane Woerth, leads the aircraft task force; and the other focuses on airport security.) The reports will flesh out and expand the lists of necessary actions.

ALPA also supports Senate Bill 1454, introduced by Senator Jean Carnahan, to provide unemployment, health care, and training benefits for affected airline workers.

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ALPA Contacts: John Mazor, Anya Piazza (703) 481-4440