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 #03.003
January 24, 2003

ALPA Reaction to Rule on Revoking Certificates of ‘Security Threats’

WASHINGTON, D.C.---The following statement was issued by Capt. Duane Woerth, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, in reaction to a rule announced today by the FAA that would revoke an airman certificate if an individual is found by the Transportation Security Administration to be a “security threat”:

While ALPA has strongly supported most of TSA’s actions to increase aviation security, this rule clearly crosses the line separating legitimate security measures from secretive, unaccountable government conduct.

The rule mandates that the FAA revoke the airman certificate (applicable to pilots, mechanics, and dispatchers) of any person who is determined by TSA to be a “security threat”.  Such action would effectively end that worker’s employment in the airline industry.

While the rule spells out in clear detail the process by which the revocation would occur, there is absolutely no discussion of standards, procedures, or criteria by which the TSA might make a determination that an individual is a “security threat”.

Furthermore, while the individual may appeal the initial finding, there is no provision for the individual to obtain any information as to why or how the determination was made, which makes the appeal virtually an empty exercise.

The unanswered questions about how one is determined by TSA to be a “security threat” should evoke a chill in every American.  Pilots and other workers would be unable to invoke the traditional right to access and refute the information that is being used against them.

We also were disappointed with the fact that the rule was introduced in final form, with no opportunity for meaningful comment, and indeed, with no notification to the portions of the aviation community that have an interest in, and have worked actively with TSA on security issues.

Airline pilots, mechanics, and other airline workers already are required to clear a 10-year criminal background check with fingerprinting.  Conviction for a wide range of crimes, ranging from serious violations to relatively minor infractions, already will effectively end an airline worker’s employment in the name of security.  This latest rule apparently lowers the bar to mere suspicions that are not the result of the kind of due process that most Americans would expect before they are branded as a security threat.

The government has a legitimate interest in keeping terrorists off of airplanes, both as passengers and as airline and airport employees; but this rule is rooted more in “1984” than in Sept. 11, 2001.

ALPA represents 66,000 airline pilots at 42 airlines in the U.S. and Canada.  Its Web site is

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ALPA CONTACT:  John Mazor (703) 481-4440