Release #08.004
February 12, 2008

TSA Trial Screening Program Must Include Airline Pilots

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Capt. John Prater, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), issued the following statement in response to the recent announcement by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) of a new trial airport employee screening program at seven airports.

“The airport employee screening trials announced this week create an ideal opportunity for TSA to install and test biometric-based employee identification systems. ALPA urges TSA to seize this opportunity to truly enhance aviation security by positively confirming pilots’ identity and employment status, rather than wasting time and resources through repeated physical screening.

“We are keenly interested in the trial programs at Denver International Airport and Boston Logan International Airport as critical opportunities to test jointly developed biometric identification technology. For example, through CrewPASS–an expansion of TSA’s highly successful Cockpit Access Security System (CASS)–trusted airline pilots can be rapidly and positively identified, freeing screeners to process passengers more effectively and quickly.

“On Aug. 3, 2007, Congress directed TSA to report by Jan. 30, 2008, with its findings on instituting a means of enhancing security and expediting pilots through security screening checkpoints. TSA has missed this deadline and we urge the agency to fulfill this mandate immediately

“CrewPASS is the ultimate win-win situation. Security will be increased by reducing the potential for an airline pilot imposter to gain access to airport secured areas, while passenger screening delays will be reduced. ALPA recently sent a letter to TSA that re-enforced the benefits of CrewPASS and drove home the point that airline pilots in this country are highly trusted partners in our aviation security system.

“By including CrewPASS biometric identification technology as part of its Denver and Boston trial programs, the TSA can fulfill its statutory directive, make the U.S. air transportation system more secure, and reduce the time that passengers spend waiting in checkpoint lines. Earlier this month, ALPA encouraged TSA to test CrewPASS at Charlotte, Phoenix, Memphis, Detroit, Minneapolis, Washington-Dulles, Atlanta, and Houston Intercontinental airports.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union representing more than 60,000 pilots at 43 airlines in the U.S. and Canada.

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Contacts: Pete Janhunen, Linda Shotwell, Molly Martin, 703/481-4440 or