CAPTAIN KENT HARDISTY
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT
AIR LINE PILOTS ASSOCIATION, INTERNATIONAL
STANDING COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORT
HOUSE OF COMMONS
NOVEMBER 8, 2001
Good morning. Thank you Mr. Chairman.
I am Captain Kent Hardisty, and I am an executive vice president of the Air Line Pilots Association, International. ALPA represents 67,000 professional pilots who fly for 47 airlines in Canada and the United States.
I would like to thank you for the opportunity to speak to the Committee today on aviation security - a critical issue of nationwide importance.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, after commercial jets crashed into the World Trade Center towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, DC, and a field in southwestern Pennsylvania, the world, as we know it, was forever altered. Our communal innocence was lost - our sense of security was snatched away in a moments time.
Although the acts of terrorism occurred in the United States, their implications transcend national borders. And for obvious reasons, these horrific acts should be of especially high concern to the countries that share boarders with the United States - particularly, Canada. Not only is our great nation a next-door neighbor of the United States, it also is a steadfast, and vocal ally in the War on Terrorism - the ongoing battle to protect democracy and freedom as we know it.
After September 11th, our nation has evolved through a series of stages - from an initial state of shock, to a state of grief, and then to a state of healing. We now need to work together to evolve to the next level: to a state of determined and focused action to ensure that Canada, and particularly our airline industry, are forever safeguarded against the nightmarish acts like those that occurred almost two months ago in the United States
One of the lessons reinforced by these tragedies is that aviation forms the "wings" of the Canadian economy. Without a strong and vibrant airline industry, our economy is in serious peril. Aviation is an extremely valuable resource in Canada, as it is the most reliable and cost-effective means -sometimes the only means - to move goods and people throughout our vast country, especially in the remote northern territories. Aviation is a resource that we may have naively taken for granted before, but cannot afford to do so again. After the events of September 11, ALPA contends that our nations economy is dependent - inextricably linked - on our air travel and transport system.
I am proud to report that ALPA pilots demonstrated a dedication to country, a strong, fighting spirit, and a dogged determinedness in their willingness to return to work as soon as the shutdown of the aviation system was repealed. ALPA pilots did what was necessary to get the industry back in the air - and the economy back on its feet.
It is now time for the government to do its part. The government must commit itself to getting the airline industry back in the air safely - for today and tomorrow.
Indeed, some steps have been made to make air travel and transport in Canada safer and more secure through the involvement of the government, in cooperation with ALPA, other aviation labour unions, the airlines, and airline manufacturers. However, these are only the first steps on a much longer path to filling the "holes" in the existing security system for the long-term.
I cannot overstate the importance of filling these holes - accomplishing this goal - immediately. Doing so will bolster the security of the air transport system tremendously, and will help improve travelers confidence in air travel, thereby improving the financial outlook for the airline industry, with a ripple effect on the entire national economy.
Prior to the events of September 11th, the aviation security community was generally opposed to the concept of adopting a "fortress" mentality to protect our aviation system in the air and on the ground. Highly visible armed police officers stationed in airport terminals, extensive hand searches of carry-on bags and additional enhanced screening procedures, and other such measures were thought to be incompatible with commercial aviation in a free society.
We now obviously know that enhanced security, which often can lead to longer lines in airports and other inconveniences for travelers, is not only compatible - but a necessity - for commercial aviation to thrive in this heightened security-conscious environment.
It is safe to say the entire aviation industry, the government, the traveling public, and, perhaps, even pilots and other crewmembers, enjoyed a false sense of security before September 11th. We naively thought that our security system was generally doing the job that was intended. Unfortunately, this mind set may have been at the root of what enabled the 19 terrorists to perform their acts of cowardice on September 11th, which cost the loss of thousands of lives and the loss of our innocence - very high prices, indeed.
Yes, for many of us, this sense of security is now a memory - erased after the first Trade Center Tower was attacked. Canada is not immune to terrorism. No nation is immune. Our nation must immediately erect the proper safeguards to protect itself, and its citizens, from experiencing any horrors similar to that of September 11th. And the government must take the lead role in instituting an advanced civil aviation security system. Action must be taken now.
The security improvements that I am here to recommend to the Committee today range from simple and inexpensive "quick fixes" for the short term, to the more difficult and expensive solutions for the long term. Yes, some of these recommendations are costly, but can we put a price tag on airline security?
In the 1980s, ALPA embarked on a campaign in the United States entitled, "One Level of Safety." As a result of this successful campaign, smaller commercial aircraft now meet the same, or equivalent, safety standards of the largest aircraft in the fleet.
We now must embark on a new mission in Canada to achieve one level of security throughout the airline industry. The security in place prior to September 11th and, which continues today, is, by design, of differing levels. The rationale behind the disparate levels of security was that the threat posed to small aircraft was thought to be less than that posed to larger aircraft. The dangers associated with operating at small airports were thought to be less than the risks posed at large airports. The hazards posed by service personnel carrying items around the screening checkpoint were, curiously, thought to be of less concern than those associated with uniformed crewmembers going to their aircraft. And for the most part, it was believed that the threat to domestic flights was less than the threat to international flights, and that the threat to cargo aircraft was minimal. All of these assumptions are now moot, as the form of terrorism experienced on September 11th represents an entirely new breed of evil.
ALPA calls upon Parliament and the government to ensure that the funding necessary for fortifying our airlines and airports be made available promptly so we can boost the publics confidence in returning to the skies - and in our own way, win the war against terrorism at home.
A New Aviation Security Blueprint
ALPA recommends the adoption of a new aviation security "blueprint," which reaches much further in scope and depth than what was in place pre-September 11, and is in place today, as I speak. In fact, this blueprint calls for a complete overhaul of the aviation security system to fill all the aforementioned "holes," and to enclose the system with an "iron fence" so that it is rendered impenetrable by potential terrorists and is safe.
I cannot state enough that plans to improve aviation security must be implemented today - not next month and not next year. Action must happen immediately to reverse the damage done, and being done, to the health of our airlines and our national economy. We must work diligently to restore Canadians confidence in flying, and to protect our nation against potential future acts of terrorism.
The following is the list of ALPAs 21 recommendations for change to current security requirements for which we request your support and assistance. ALPA security representatives provided this list to Transport Canada senior managers on October 3rd.
Because aviation safety is an issue for all airline pilots, we would like to state for the record that the Air Canada Pilots Association and the First Air Pilots Association also endorsed these recommendations at the October 3rd meeting.
We have divided the recommendations into categories that represent the different areas where change is needed to improve current security.
Airport Access and Policy
1. As stated earlier, there must be "one level of security" instituted at all Canadian airports at which CAR 704 (Commuter aircraft carrying 10-19 passengers) and 705 (Airline aircraft carrying 20 or more passengers) operations occur. It should now be perfectly clear to all of us that any size aircraft flying from any size airport - domestic or international - can be used as a human-guided weapon. ALPA believes that to create a secure aviation system in Canada and beyond, we must start with the principle that the traveling public and aircraft crewmembers need one level of security - no matter where they fly to or from, no matter the size of the aircraft, no matter whether the aircraft carries passengers or cargo.
2. ALPA is pleased to understand that police at airports do have full powers as law enforcement officers. As a next step, ALPA recommends that their presence at airports must be established at realistic patrolling levels and be a federal requirement, not a level set by the local airport authority. The Association believes that the realization of these requirements will accomplish three goals: a) allow the police to better protect the traveling public by providing greater enforcement capabilities; b) provide passengers with a greater confidence in the security of the air travel system because they will see a very visible security force at their departure and arrival airports; c) serve as a deterrent to future acts of terrorism by providing an extra layer of security on the ground.
3. A mandated minimum level of security at the perimeter of all Canadian airports is necessary to prevent unauthorized access. At present, there is little security presence on the outer perimeters of most airports in Canada, particularly at the smaller airports, which has created a "hole" in the security system on the ground, albeit one that can be filled with the implementation of various precautionary measures (i.e., increased patrolling, fencing, etc.).
As mentioned earlier, no disparity exists between the alleged safety of domestic versus international flights. Therefore, security regulations, policies, and procedures should be applied equally to both domestic and international flights.
Access to Sterile Areas
5. One of the most basic functions of a satisfactory security system is to positively identify all individuals - including fuelers, groomers, maintenance workers, passenger service agents, non-uniformed security personnel, and more - who are authorized access to secure areas in airports. Today, the failure to require airlines and airports to verify all employee identities is the cause of serious concerns about the security of flight. In other words, if screening is to be mandatory for passengers and flight crew, it should be mandatory for ALL personnel who have access to sterile areas and currently, this is not the case. There have been reports on the possibility that terrorists are, or may have, posed as airline employees. We need to put an immediate end to the inconsistencies in the screening of various airport personnel, and put in place a solid access control system. As such, and since the mid-1980s, ALPA has called for the institution of electronic means of positively identifying each and every employee who has authorization to enter secured airport areas.
6. ALPA firmly holds that Transport Canada must introduce, and use to its fullest extent, programs that would prevent passengers with a hostile intent from accessing airline aircraft. As one of our near-term actions to improve aviation security, the Association recommends the adoption of the Computer-Assisted Passenger Profile System (CAPPS) as soon as is realistically possible. Additionally, we recommend the use of CAPPS to its full operational capability. CAPPS is designed to use the passenger information databases to determine whether an individual poses a security risk. ALPA has recently learned that CAPPS is assisting the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in its ongoing criminal investigation into the horrific events of September 11th by providing information on the travel history of known and suspected terrorists. If properly configured, CAPPs can help identify potential security risks prior to boarding - and prior to any threats onboard aircraft. Therefore, the Association recommends that CAPPS be used on all domestic and international arrivals and departures in Canada, the United States, and Mexico even after the current threat is diminished.
7. ALPA is pleased to note that at major airports, all passengers, who appear to be aged 16 and older are currently being checked for positive photo identification immediately prior to boarding. The Association believes that this practice must be extended to all Canadian airports and for all flights international and domestic.
8. A major gap in the airline security at airports is in the area of carry-on baggage screening. The status quo, whereby airlines contract with the lowest bidder to perform security screening, has been a complete validation of the concept, "you get what you pay for." Recent events in Chicago have underlined the importance of this security measure and the potential disastrous results if it fails to perform at the highest level. Screeners have the utmost of responsibility bearing on their shoulders - they serve an important line of defense against terrorism on the ground - yet are generally improperly trained and poorly paid. There is no career path and no motivation to continually improve. Transport Canada should ensure that all screening personnel are properly trained, motivated, and supervised to operate at consistently high standards across the country. If necessary to accomplish this goal, ALPA believes that a federal program should be used to ensure and maintain a national level of performance - one level of screening at all airports, no matter their location or size.
9. Regarding the security of checked baggage, ALPA holds that domestic bags/passenger matches must be mandatory, and that full security checks must be completed on all late baggage. Additionally, late luggage must be subject to electronic screening before being loaded on aircraft.
10. To prevent the use of phony credentials by potential hijackers to gain access to secure areas, all current airport restricted area passes should be reissued after appropriate security confirmation is completed. These new badges should differ dramatically from current versions and should not be easily reproduced. ALPA advocates the use of a Memory Chip Card (MMC), which would allow swiping similar to an ATM machine, instead of the current unsecured door access code boxes. In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration is currently in the process of developing a highly secure MCC system to identify armed law enforcement officers (LEOs). Plans have been announced to install a special MCC reader at each security-screening checkpoint in the U.S. to positively identify armed LEOs. There is no reason why this technology could not also be used to positively screen airline and airport employees traversing the screening checkpoint - and there is no reason why this system cannot be adopted in Canada.
11. One easy "quick fix" to preventing future breaches in security at airports is to change gate and bridge codes as soon as possible. These codes have not been changed in years, and, therefore, present a huge and obvious hole in the security system - a problem that can be quite easily remedied. Although we requested this change on October 3rd, we are not aware of any action to date to change existing codes.
Flight Crew Procedures and Training
12. The form of terrorism that manifested itself on September 11th is entirely different that what can be referred to as "traditional" terrorist acts of the past - those involving extortion-types of hijackings (e.g., demands for money). After the Associations experts performed a thorough review of current anti-hijacking policies and procedures - including the issue of compliance/non-compliance with terrorist demands - ALPA has determined that all airlines should be required to change their policies for dealing with hijackers to one of non-compliance. This change is necessary to deal effectively with the new threat of suicidal hijackers or other such extreme hazards on airliners. Additionally, appropriate and enhanced training for crewmembers on this new paradigm should be mandatory.
Flight Deck Access
13. Current cockpit doors are weak and flimsy, and can be easily compromised by a determined adult. A clear and obvious need exists for stronger cockpit doors that can secure the flight crew against attacks by would-be cockpit intruders, armed or otherwise. These doors would ultimately serve as one of the last lines of defense against a terrorist attack in flight. The installation of reinforced doors on all flight decks should be required of such a design that the doors cannot be breached in flight or on the ground when closed and locked. In addition, it should be required that the door be locked at all times unless the safety of the flight requires it to be unlocked. The technology exists and must be utilized in as prompt a manner as possible.
14. The locked/reinforced cockpit door policy should be retroactive - retrofitted in the existing airline fleet - and installed by manufacturers on new airplanes. In addition, an unserviceable door lock should be a "no-go" Minimum Equipment List (MEL) item. The MEL category should not allow flight beyond the first destination, or maintenance base, where the deficiency can be corrected.
15. Cockpit door locks should be designed so that pilots may lock or unlock the door without having to leave their seats on the flight deck.
16. By locking the cockpit doors prior to, and during, all flights and the implementation of other measures, the flight deck will become a secured and impenetrable "fortress." However, the flight deck crew still will require the ability to observe happenings - or possible threats - just outside the cockpit in the passenger cabin in the event a dangerous event presents itself. ALPA advocates that a non-recording, cockpit door monitoring system be installed on all aircraft to allow pilots to monitor the area without having to leave their seats.
17. New hijacking transponder codes should be established through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to replace existing codes, which may have been compromised. In addition, a discreet alarm technology should be provided on the flight deck with a hidden switch in the event that the last lines of defense fall, and a security breach occurs on the flight deck.
18. A program similar to the Federal Air Marshal program in the United States should be created and implemented in Canada. The marshals - plain-clothed, armed federal law enforcement officers who would fly in the passenger cabin on airline aircraft - would provide another layer to ensure that the flight deck is secured: a protected "fortress." The primary purpose of these officers would be to protect the flight deck at all costs. Because of the intense and highly specialized training necessary, the cadre of marshals needs to consist of full-time, dedicated professionals, and not part-time Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers or other law enforcement personnel who may not have the specialized skills required for the job. And for the air marshal program to work, the government must provide an appropriate structure and sufficient resources to facilitate its prompt creation and to support it thereafter. As the members of Committee likely know, a Federal Air Marshal program is in existence in the United States, and this program has been expanded in reach and breadth post-September 11. The FBI oversees the U.S. program, which ALPA believes could be an excellent guide for the formation of a similar nationwide program in Canada.
19. Smaller passenger aircraft such as the Dash-8, which have access to the checked baggage hold from the passenger cabin should not be allowed to carry firearms, or should be modified in design to provide a secure lockup for such hazardous materials during transport.
20. To ensure that the public, secure side of airports is, indeed, secure, no knives or potential weapons should be sold at shops on the "sterile" side of screening stations, and no restaurants in these areas should use steel knives or utensils, which ostensibly can be used as weapons on aircraft. ALPA is pleased to report that Transport Canada has adopted this recommendation in its Message - #2001M-500, dated 1 October 2001 (Part A.1 (4)).
21. Commuter aircraft, such as the Beech 1900, which have 19 passengers on board, but no flight attendant, by current regulation must have the flight deck door open for takeoff and landing. Procedures need to be established to ensure the flight security for these types of aircraft, which takes into account their unique circumstances of their operations.
Thank you, again, for the opportunity to appear before this Committee today to outline ALPAs recommendations for reinforcing and improving the security of Canadas air transport system. The Association looks forward to working with Parliament, Transport Canada, the airline industry, aircraft manufacturers, other aviation labour unions, and other interested parties in implementing our list of 21 recommendations in a timely manner. ALPA pilots also look forward to continuing to do their part in ensuring that air travel remains the safest form of transportation in the world, urging our citizens return to the skies, and assisting the economy of our great nation to soar again.
I would be pleased to respond to any questions you may have.