Release #07.040
August 1, 2007

ALPA Applauds Congress for Streamlining Airport Access for U.S. Pilots

WASHINGTON—The Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) applauds Congress for passing H.R. 1, the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007. The measure includes an ALPA-backed provision which requires the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to establish a process that would give flight deck and cabin crew members expedited airport access through screening check points.

“This bill, upon the President’s signature, starts a 180-day clock for the TSA to consult with airlines, airports, and flight crew unions on how to improve airport access,” said ALPA President Capt. John Prater. “ALPA has prepared for this opportunity. We have a proposal that provides a low-cost and effective process to leverage existing technology to screen crew members, saving TSA time and money.”

Developed by a small industry working group in February 2007, ALPA’s proposal, called Crew Personnel Advanced Screening System (CrewPASS), is based on the TSA’s highly successful Cockpit Access Security System (CASS). CASS uses employee databases of participating airlines to electronically confirm the identity and employment status of pilots so that they may gain access to the jumpseats of airplanes belonging to companies other than their own.

CrewPASS would extend the CASS concept to crew portals and security screening checkpoints to electronically screen flight crew members quickly, efficiently, and effectively, thereby fixing the current security deficiency. CrewPASS would not require purchasing or issuing new identification cards, saving the industry money during the implementation process.

“ALPA's National Security Committee (NSC) and industry are moving forward with a CrewPASS prototype program and we are in the process of identifying airports with established crew portals to test the program,” Prater said. “The group is also looking at how long the prototype phase should last, how many airports should be part of the prototype program, and what infrastructure would be needed at each test site.”

Currently, the TSA screens highly vetted and prescreened pilots thousands of times per day. If the TSA removed pilots from passenger screening by implementing CrewPASS or a similar proposal, it could save millions of dollars that could be better used screening unknown passengers and cargo.

For more information about the CrewPASS proposal, please click here for the Association’s White Paper. Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union representing more than 60,000 cockpit crewmembers at 41 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit the ALPA website at

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ALPA Contact: Pete Janhunen, Linda Shotwell, Molly Martin, 703-481-4440