ALPA’s Statement on Enhanced Screening

November 12, 2010 - The recent policy decision by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to amend security screening procedures by requiring all persons, including airline pilots, to be subject to screening by Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) machines and/or pat-down searches is the latest change in a long line of ever-increasing security measures that have frustrated and burdened airline pilots. Airline pilots are trustworthy by definition of their employment and responsibilities. They are very heavily scrutinized and evaluated on a daily basis; they have been subjected to extensive FBI background checks and thousands are deputized as Federal Flight Deck Officers by the TSA who carry and are authorized to use lethal force while on duty to defend the cockpit from a terrorist threat. Screening airline pilots for the possession of threat objects does not enhance security because pilots have the safety of their passengers and aircraft in their hands on every flight.

Captain John Prater, ALPA President, has had numerous high-level discussions with DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and TSA Administrator John Pistole over the past several days concerning this issue and has made specific, confidential recommendations on how it should be addressed. The Association’s concerns have been heard and are being examined by the Administration with the goal of finding acceptable solutions.

ALPA is actively promoting to the government and industry an enhanced screening system for airline pilots that will provide a higher level of security than currently exists. The Association is also publishing guidance to its members today on their present options and rights as they transit the security screening checkpoint system.