Enhanced Crewmember Security Screening

ALPA has long advocated for an efficient and effective screening process for airline pilots that will be more efficient and enhance aviation security. More than seven years after the attacks of September 11, 2001, the TSA’s screening methodology for pilots is still inefficient and facilitates security inadequacies. What is needed is a means to prevent uniformed pilot imposters from gaining access to airport secured areas and creating a security threat. Today, a person posing as a pilot could pass through security undetected because TSA has no means of positively verifying pilots’ identity and employment status.

To address this problem, ALPA in 2007 proposed the creation of a biometric-based security screening system that would quickly and accurately verify the identity and employment status of active pilots. This system, known as the Crew Personnel Advanced Screening System (CrewPASS), could be readily implemented throughout the airport network using mostly existing resources. CrewPASS would also help reduce passenger delays at screening checkpoints and enhance the overall security of our aviation system.

The “Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007” (PL 110-53) included a mandate for TSA to examine the feasibility of instituting a system that will “enhance security by properly identifying authorized airline flight deck and cabin crew members at screening checkpoints and granting them expedited access through screening checkpoints.” To its credit, TSA began an evaluation last July of CrewPASS to meet this congressional mandate at three airports: Baltimore-Washington International; Pittsburgh International; and, Columbia, SC.

ALPA is urging the agency to formally adopt CrewPASS as a standing security program, enhance it with fingerprint biometric readers, and implement the system across the country.