Release #05.005
February 16, 2005

ALPA Welcomes New DHS Secretary

WASHINGTON, DC---The union representing most of the nation's airline pilots said that it welcomes Judge Michael Chertoff as the new Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

"Security against terrorist attack has become one of our nation's most important priorities. So much so that Congress created an entirely new cabinet-level agency to consolidate and coordinate new and existing resources to fight the war on terror," said Capt. Duane Woerth, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, International.

"Michael Chertoff brings an impressive array of credentials to this job. We welcome him to his new post and look forward to working with him," Woerth said.

"We have significantly improved aviation security since the Sept. 11 attacks. However, much more needs to be done. We are especially interested in working with Secretary Chertoff to make security checkpoints and practices more efficient and more effective," he said.

"We must face up to the fact that aviation checkpoint security as it is now implemented is more burdensome for travelers than it needs to be. The entire experience -- excessive wait times, intrusive inspections, and subjecting low-risk individuals to the same measures as individuals of higher or unknown risk levels -- is chasing airline passengers away from air travel to alternate modes of transportation. At a time when the airline industry is struggling to survive its worst economic downturn in history, we can no longer ignore the effects of such losses. We believe it is possible to improve security screening and make it a tolerable experience for passengers" he said.

"We also would like to pursue with Secretary Chertoff some improvements in other areas, such as the Transportation Workers Identity Card, cargo security, and the Federal Flight Deck Officer program, which now constitutes the fourth-largest federal law enforcement group in the nation," Woerth said.

ALPA, the world's oldest and largest pilots union, represents 64,000 airline pilots at 43 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Its website is

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ALPA CONTACT: John Mazor (703) 481-4440