May 26, 2006
ALPA Endorses TSA Commitment to Make Progress on Pilot Identification Cards
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) is encouraged by the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) recent letter from Assistant Secretary Kip Hawley outlining progress in issuing identification cards for pilots.
The TSA letter was a personal response to an earlier letter from ALPA’s president, Capt. Duane Woerth, to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Michael Chertoff urging him to implement biometric-enhanced identification cards for pilots as quickly as possible. Secretary Hawley penned a closing note to Capt. Woerth that read, “I will work on this to get pilots in a biometric program ASAP.”
As Capt. Woerth pointed out in his initial letter to Secretary Chertoff, identification cards will not only benefit pilots by efficiently moving them through airport security checkpoints, but they will also provide the flying public with an added layer of security.
“Pilots are the most thoroughly screened and monitored group of employees in the entire workforce, and they have earned the high level of trust that comes with their positions. We are encouraged that the TSA appears poised to recognize pilots’ trustworthiness in this manner,” Capt. Woerth said.
Unfortunately, the TSA has not announced plans to integrate the aviation section into the Transportation Worker Identification Card (TWIC) program. Until this action is taken, ALPA believes that the TSA should quickly expedite another means of biometric-infused identification cards for airline pilots. While the letter made clear that the TSA would move forward with TWIC in the maritime industry first, Secretary Hawley offered to find other ways to leverage biometric information in commercial aviation.
Capt. Woerth’s original letter stated, “The use of identification cards and related biometric technology is needed now because the aviation industry is a demonstrated target of terrorists, and its implementation will not face many of the obstacles that exist in other transportation sectors. It’s worth noting that Canada is completing the installation of such an identification card system for flight crews and airport workers at all of that country’s 29 major airports. ALPA will continue to work closely with the DHS and the TSA on this important initiative. We know well the program’s benefits and want to realize them as soon as possible.”
ALPA represents 62,000 airline pilots at 39 airlines in the United States and Canada. Its website is www.alpa.org.
# # #
ALPA CONTACTS: Jeff Orschel, Linda Shotwell, (703) 481-4440, firstname.lastname@example.org