January 12, 2005
ALPA Applauds Mineta Announcement on Lasers
WASHINGTON, D.C.---The following statement was issued today by Capt. Duane Woerth, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, regarding the announcement by Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta about laser incidents:
We applaud the actions announced by Secretary Mineta, and his promise of vigorous government response to those irresponsible individuals who are endangering the safety of our pilots and passengers.
ALPA has been calling for improved information flow, both for reporting incidents or suspicious activity of any kind to a central office for analysis, and for dissemination of security information to pilots. The procedures for reporting laser incidents and broadcasting this information to pilots in the cockpit are an important first step toward that goal.
In addition to alerting and protecting pilots, the procedures announced by Secretary Mineta will assist law enforcement agencies in tracking down and apprehending perpetrators. We urge prosecutors and the courts to impose maximum penalties in these cases, to deter others who might think that this is a harmless prank.
Although the government knows of no specific, credible evidence that terrorists may be involved in these laser incidents, we must not assume that this is the reality. We would urge DHS and other appropriate agencies to continue monitoring for any indications of terrorist connections to such activity.
ALPA, chartered by the AFL-CIO in 1931, is the union that represents 64,000 airline pilots at 43 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Its website is at www.alpa.org.
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ALPA CONTACTS: John Mazor, Linda Shotwell (703) 481-4440