ALPA's Communications Department provides information and support for news media inquiries. An ALPA communications representative can be reached in the Herndon, Va. office at (703) 481-4440.

News Release

Release #02.055
June 19, 2002 

ALPA Commends Legislators for Bipartisan Compromise on Firearms Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C.--- The president of the world’s largest pilot union today praised House legislators for reaching consensus on a bipartisan substitute amendment to H.R. 4635, paving the way for a two-year test program allowing as many as 1,400 pilots to carry firearms in the cockpit.

Captain Duane Woerth, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, International, said that U.S. Representatives Don Young (R-AK), John Mica (R-FL), Jim Oberstar (D-MN), and William Lipinski (D-IL) created a realistic experimental program that gives airline pilots the right to use deadly force as a last line of defense against terrorism aboard an airliner.

"The safety and security of our aviation industry is reliant on redundancy in the system," said Woerth. "In light of the fact that our aviation security system is evolving and that redundancy has not yet been fully realized, ALPA worked closely with Representatives on the House Aviation Subcommittee to create this substitute amendment on an experimental program to allow highly trained airline pilots to carry firearms to defend the cockpit. We give this bipartisan compromise our full support, and we thank all the legislators involved for allowing this issue to go forward," Woerth added.

ALPA pilots have been calling for this common sense measure as just one of many layers of defense in protecting the aircraft and the lives of the traveling public. As deputized federal flight deck officers, pilots will add to the security mosaic that includes greater passenger and baggage scrutiny, federal air marshals monitoring the cabin, and redesigned cockpit doors to be installed by April 2003.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s oldest and largest pilot union representing more than 66,000 cockpit crewmembers at 43 airlines in the U.S. and Canada.

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ALPA Contact: Anya Piazza, (703) 481-4440