ALPA's Communications Department provides information and support for news
media inquiries. An ALPA communications representative can be reached in the Herndon, Va.
office at (703) 481-4440.
January 29, 2002
ALPA Critical of US Airways for Sustaining Intolerable Security Operation in Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA – The US Airways unit of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) has determined that US Airways is allowing security operations at Philadelphia International Airport to conduct inconsistent and arbitrary security screening procedures, which challenge and frustrate US Airways’ crews.
Since September 11, two US Airways pilots have been arrested while attempting to report for work at Philadelphia International Airport, where US Airways operates one of its largest pilot crew bases. These arrests occurred at the same security checkpoint at the airport and are the only two such reported arrests of ALPA pilots in the entire nation.
These arrests occurred when in one case an experienced US Airways captain questioned the disparate screening procedure and in the other case when another experienced US Airways captain made factual statements about the incongruities in the security practices at airports. US Airways security screeners overreacted to these criticisms in a manner that is inconsistent with all other security screening checkpoints throughout the nation. US Airways has elected to fire the first pilot arrested and suspend the second pilot while his case is under review, thus encouraging the unprofessional security screening checkpoint operation in Philadelphia.
"We are outraged that US Airways has refused to stand behind its pilots when addressing pilot concerns about illogical security screening practices in Philadelphia," said Captain Chris Beebe, Chairman of the Master Executive Council of the US Airways unit of the Air Line Pilots Association.
"US Airways’ current position—to inappropriately discipline dedicated, professional airline pilots while sustaining an intolerable and unprofessional security screening operation in Philadelphia—is not only undermining the morale of the pilot group, but has the effect of sidestepping a serious security concern," said Captain Beebe.
ALPA is encouraging a meeting with US Airways management officials in Philadelphia in an effort to form a working group to resolve the issues concerning employee security screening at Philadelphia International Airport.
ALPA has been proposing that a universal access system be installed for crews in Philadelphia and nationwide, as was implemented at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. This system, which involves new ID cards with embedded microchips, can store a variety of information that would provide a nearly foolproof way to identify pilots and other airline and airport workers. Anyone bearing this form of ID could be processed through security with a less intense level of scrutiny. This system would go a long way toward relieving a principal source of complaints from pilots.
ALPA represents 66,000 airline pilots at 46 carriers in the U.S. and Canada. Its website is www.alpa.org.