ALPA-Hosted AvSec 2008 Commences

August 11, 2008 - ALPA’s mission to continue improving aviation security was underscored this morning with the start of the ALPA 2008 Aviation Security Forum, or AvSec 2008. This year’s goal is to facilitate an honest, unpolished sharing of security information and ideas within the aviation community including aviators, security experts, government participants, law enforcement officers, and technical specialists.

Capt. Bob Hesselbein,
ALPA National Security Committee chairman

Capt. John Prater, ALPA president

ALPA National Security Committee chairman, Capt. Bob Hesselbein (Northwest), welcomed the participants.

“The state of global aviation security, although greatly improved in the seven years since September 11, 2001, still suffers from a lack of comprehensive, threat-based resource allocation,” Hesselbein said. “It is our mission to identify our strengths and articulate our known security weaknesses. We must assess the differences in protection found between passenger and all-cargo operations, and the challenges of geographical and cultural dynamics.”

Hesselbein emphasized that, given the airline industry’s current economic challenges, “we must seek the path to establish cost-effective solutions.”

ALPA president, Capt. John Prater, set the tone for the next four days of security presentations, noting, “Pilots are security in action—we ensure the protection of our passengers, cargo, and crewmembers from harm, every flight of every day.”

Prater briefly discussed the history of U.S. airline security efforts and the parallel role the Association has played in protecting public air transportation. He acknowledged ALPA’s ongoing relationship with federal agencies like the TSA, and the success of the newly implemented (at three U.S. airports) CrewPASS program to enhance security and expedite crewmember airport screening.

“This forum will provide another opportunity for all of us—pilots, government leaders, security specialists, and stakeholders—to explore current security operations and consider future possibilities,” he said. Prater challenged the attendees to make good use of the 2008 Forum, adding, “Take this occasion to share your expertise with others who share the common goal of aviation security.”

This week’s AvSec 2008 presentations provide a broad brush stroke of the current air transportation security environment. Look for future details at

Additional coverage of AvSec 2008:

Sunday, August 10:
Feds Talk FFDO Issues with Pilots

Monday, August 11:
FBI at the Airport | Terrorist planning and priorities| Self-Defense Training for Crew Members| FAMS and ALPA Together to Secure Aircraft | Policing Our Airports | Tracking Down Terrorists Pays Off

Tuesday, August 12:
FSDs Share Notes with Pilots | Security as an Investment Pays Off | MANPADS, the Unseen Threat | MANPADS, Closer to Home | A TSA Perspective and Retrospective

Wednesday, August 13:
Securing National Transportation | Narrowing the Focus to Passenger Airlines | From Passenger Ops to Cargo | Managing Air Transportation Security from the Outside

Thursday, August 14:
A Valuable Security Tool for Globe-Spanning ALPA Members | Air Cargo Security Shortcomings

Joint Session (Safety and Security), Thursday, August 14:
Sharing Information to Improve Safety Makes Sense | The Work that Still Needs to be Done