WASHINGTON – The Air Line Pilots Association, Int'l (ALPA), and the Air Transport Association (ATA) met recently with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator John S. Pistole and received approval from TSA for testing of a new crewmember screening system. This enhanced identity and employment verification system for airline pilots will make airport checkpoint screening more efficient for all who depend on air transportation.
The system, which is jointly sponsored by ALPA and ATA, will tie airline employee databases together in a seamless way and enable TSA security officers to positively verify identity and employment status of crewmembers. In 2007, ALPA promoted to TSA the first version of an alternate screening method called the Crew Personnel Advanced Screening System (CrewPASS). CrewPASS has been used successfully at three East Coast airports for almost three years. This enhanced process leverages current technology to provide an effective and cost efficient solution.
"I look forward to the full national deployment of a known crewmember program at the earliest possible date," said ALPA President Captain Lee Moak. "As professional airline pilots, we have been through employment checks; we have been fingerprinted; we have been through criminal background checks. We are the most highly screened employees in the aviation industry, and we are on the frontlines of our nation's aviation security effort every day, empowered to help protect it. This enhanced process recognizes those facts by providing pilots with a technologically modern and highly efficient alternative to the traditional security screening process."
"We are proud to partner with ALPA on this effort," said ATA President Nicholas E. Calio. "Our nation's airline pilots are highly skilled and trusted partners within our industry, and with this new system we can improve the screening system for flight crews while reducing congestion and improving the travel experience for passengers in TSA security lines."
"Deploying an enhanced screening program for pilots in uniform that allows TSA to verify their employment and identity is a step in the right direction as TSA continues to explore more risk-based, intelligence-driven security solutions," said TSA Administrator John S. Pistole. "We want to focus our limited resources on passenger screening, while speeding and enhancing the checkpoint experience for everyone."
Any TSA-regulated U.S. airline that wishes to connect to this enhanced system will be able to do so, and any airline pilot employed by one of those carriers will be able to participate in the program.
Testing is projected to begin at a limited number of airports later this year. The tests will run for approximately 90 days and if successful will expand to additional U.S. airports.
Implementation of this system is the culmination of ongoing discussions precipitated by an earlier announcement by TSA to modify checkpoint screening procedures for crewmembers while an identity verification system was being developed.
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world's largest pilot union, representing nearly 53,000 pilots at 38 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org.
Annually, commercial aviation helps drive more than $1 trillion in U.S. economic activity and nearly 11 million U.S. jobs. ATA airline members and their affiliates transport more than 90 percent of all U.S. airline passenger and cargo traffic. For more information about the airline industry, visit www.airlines.org and follow us on Twitter @airlinesassn.