August 8, 2007
Alaska Airlines Captain Robert Powers Receives ALPA’s Presidential
Sumner, Washington Pilot Recognized for Creating Model Security Programs
WASHINGTON—The Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) will recognize Alaska Airlines Capt. Robert Powers with a 2007 Presidential Citation Award, the Association’s honor for outstanding work in aviation security, for his dedication and efforts to create a number of security programs, including a model for the Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) Program. This award will be presented on August 9 at ALPA’s 53rd Annual Air Safety & Security Week and Awards Banquet in Washington, D.C.
“Capt. Powers is a legendary figure within the aviation security industry. He created a model Federal Flight Deck Officer support program at Alaska Airlines, protecting passengers, crews, and cargo across the nation,” said ALPA President, Capt. John Prater. “His leadership in aviation security program development, advocacy, and communication commands our respect and recognition.”
On Sept. 25, 2001, just two weeks after the 9/11 attack, ALPA became the first organization to call for a program to train and arm airline pilots. ALPA’s proposal, presented at Congressional hearings, embraced four basic principles: the program must be voluntary; applicants would undergo the same screening and background checks as federal law enforcement officers; they would receive intensive training at a federal training center; and successful candidates would be sworn in as federal law enforcement agents.
On Nov. 26, 2002, the Homeland Security Act became law, including the implementation of the Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) program provisions. Its main provisions tracked exactly with the ALPA proposal. The first pilots’ training class was completed in April 2003 and additional classes have graduated weekly since that time. Although cargo airline pilots originally had been prohibited from the program, ALPA sought and achieved a legislative change that now allows them to participate.
“Rob’s commitment and dedication to aviation security, both here at Alaska Airlines and industry wide, has created a positive, lasting impact on our profession,” said Master Executive Council Chairman Capt. Tom Crank. “I am proud to have had the opportunity to work with Capt. Powers and, on behalf of the 1,500 pilots at Alaska Airlines, thank him for his efforts.”
At Alaska Airlines, Capt. Powers served as the Security Committee chairman, taking personal action to create a number of programs that teamed with government initiatives and his airline to benefit all pilots. He is also a key driver for many of the actions that the ALPA National Security Committee routinely accomplishes today.
Founded in 1931, ALPA represents more than 60,000 pilots at 41 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org for more information.
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CONTACT: Pete Janhunen, Linda Shotwell, Molly Martin, (703) 481-4440