Progress Needed to Realize Risk-Based Air Transportation Security
Proven Federal Flight Deck Officer Program Must Be Fully Funded

Capt. Lee Moak, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l, applauded the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Homeland Security for holding a hearing titled “Balancing Prosperity and Security: Challenges for U.S. Air Travel in a 21st Century Global Economy,” and issued the following statement highlighting the Association’s written statement submitted to the subcommittee.

“(ALPA) recognizes the Transportation Security Administration’s commitment to shift away from a one-size-fits-all approach to air transportation security and embrace a more intelligence-driven, risk-based philosophy. The TSA has taken important action toward instituting risk-based security by advancing many initiatives that ALPA has advocated, including launching the Known Crewmember program, which provides enhanced security screening for professional flight crews.

“While important progress, these efforts must mark the first actions in a determined drive toward a completely risk-based approach that will help enhance aviation security, make air transportation more customer-friendly for airline passengers and air cargo shippers, and ensure the U.S. airline industry continues to fuel the nation’s economy and provide jobs.”

“The Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) program is a critically needed and highly cost-efficient airline security program in which airline pilots are fully trained to protect their flight deck as federal law enforcement officers and serve as an integral part of a multilayered approach to aircraft security. The presence of FFDOs onboard flights serves as one of the most effective deterrents to criminal and terrorist activity. The FFDO program’s proven success makes clear that its funding should be increased from $25 million to $50 million, so that the already successful program can be expanded and more flights can be protected.

“In addition to funding and fostering the Federal Flight Deck Officer program, other critical risk-based security action must include expanding the Known Crewmember program, improving cargo security, doing more to secure the flight deck by installing secondary barriers on aircraft and particularly on cargo aircraft that do not have fortified flight deck doors, advancing threatened airspace management so that the air transportation system is positioned to swiftly and effectively respond to potential security threats, and ending laser attacks on aircraft.

“Thanks to the TSA’s leadership and to committed collaboration among all those invested in achieving the highest possible security standards for air transportation, remarkable progress has been made, but much more must be done to fully realize a risk-based approach that will effectively secure our skies while enhancing the air transportation experience for passengers, shippers, and airline employees.”