Release #09.091
December 30, 2009

Flight 253 Incident Calls for Increased Vigilance

WASHINGTON, DC – Capt. John Prater, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), issued the following statement on the December 25 failed terrorist attack aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253.

“The crew of Northwest Airlines Flight 253 performed their jobs flawlessly during the recent security incident, making this flight one of thousands across the country to arrive safely at its destination that day. A well-trained professional flight crew remains the last line of defense in keeping the nation’s airlines safe.

“While an extraordinary level of safety and security exists in our nation’s air transportation system today, we must continue to scrutinize all aspects of aviation security. Working with government, industry, and airline operators, ALPA will thoroughly evaluate the series of events that led to this in-flight security incident and identify areas where the system can be improved.

“The Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration have sought ALPA’s views on a broad range of security issues, including this most recent event. While ALPA respects the work and commitment of the current TSA leadership, we call for the rapid confirmation of Erroll Southers as TSA Administrator as an important step in providing security for the traveling public.

“For decades, ALPA has advocated for a threat-based aviation security system that directs resources toward the greatest risk. We are continuing to work with the federal government agencies, Congress, and the airlines to ensure that our nation’s aviation security moves away from a one-size-fits-all approach to a threat-based system that focuses on intent rather than objects.”

Editors’ Note: ALPA is not commenting or granting interviews beyond this statement at this time.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing more than 53,000 pilots at 37 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at


CONTACT: Linda Shotwell, 703/481-4440 or