Securing Air Cargo
The “Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007” requires the government to establish a system for screening 100 percent of cargo transported on passenger aircraft by August 2010. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has developed a practical methodology for compliance with this congressional mandate. ALPA agrees with TSA that an effective air cargo screening program must incorporate a variety of techniques to ensure that 100% of the cargo which is loaded on commercial aircraft is secure. However, we urge Congress and the TSA to be mindful that without the proper resources to support a comprehensive government oversight and enforcement process, the system is vulnerable.
ALPA believes that the security of cargo transported on passenger airliners is of critical importance, however, in 2009, we will concentrate our efforts on the most neglected area of cargo security: the measures applicable to all-cargo air operations. Although many improvements have been made in this regard since the events of 9/11, one level of security does not yet exist between the passenger and all-cargo domains. TSA has stated that the potential for an aircraft takeover continues to pose the highest security threat to all-cargo operations. Consequently, ALPA offers the following recommendations:
Install Hardened Flight Deck Doors or an Alternative on All-Cargo Airliners. A significant number of all-cargo airliners are equipped with bulkheads that would allow for the installation of a secure cockpit door. On those aircraft that lack bulkheads, a number of cockpit door alternatives should be developed.
Vet Persons Who Have Unescorted Access to Cargo and All-Cargo Airliners. Persons granted unescorted access to cargo destined for shipment by air must be vetted by means of a fingerprint-based criminal history records check (CHRC) and threat matrix as applied to applicants for unescorted SIDA access.
Implement SIDA for All-Cargo Air Operations Areas. Secure Identification Display Area (SIDA) protocols have been implemented in some, but not all airport areas dedicated to all-cargo operations.
Subject Persons Transported on All-Cargo Airliners to a Security Threat Assessment (STA). All-cargo flights often transport individuals seated immediately outside the flight deck, unsupervised and possessing items normally not allowed to be carried on passenger airliners. Current Air Cargo Security Requirements fail to subject them to a security threat assessment (STA).
Provide Security Training for All-Cargo Flight Crew Members and Staff. Government-approved security training (Common Strategy), equivalent to that required in the passenger domain, must be mandated for all-cargo flight crews.
Implement Risk-Based Assessment of Cargo. An effective Freight Assessment System (FAS) offers great value in identifying cargo of elevated risk.
Use Known Shipper Concept for All-Cargo Operations. Measures have been taken via the Known Shipper (KS) program to minimize threats that cargo shipments present to passenger airliners. However, the same protective standards are not applied to goods shipped via all-cargo airlines. Cargo and passenger airliners should be viewed equally in terms of susceptibility of exposure to risks associated with improvised explosive devices and chemical, biological, and radiological hazards.
Make Greater Use of Technology in The All-Cargo Domain. This includes the technical means to detect improvised explosive devices, and chemical, biological, and radiological weapons or contaminants.