From ALPA FastRead 1/18/02
Welcome to ALPA FastRead for January 18, 2002.
The arrest of a US Airways pilot for alleged remarks at a security screening checkpoint at the Philadelphia Airport Sunday drew a strong response from ALPA's president, Capt. Duane Woerth, and another call for
the FAA to mandate the use of a "Universal Access" ID card to streamline flight crews' passage through security.
The arrest of the pilot "for making a factual
statement about incongruities in our security
practices at airports underlines just how much of a strain the September 11 attack has placed on the air transport system and all Americans," Capt. Woerth says.
He says that the Association had fielded "thousands of complaints" from members regarding inconsistencies or improprieties at airport screening points, or about illogical screening policies. "The system clearly has problems, because pilots are not the only people complaining," Capt.Woerth notes. Passengers and flight attendants have also reported such abuses as improper touching, excessive zeal, and arbitrary treatment at the hands of screeners. Some flight crews have protested being subject to "higher levels of scrutiny than normal, while others such as caterers and cleaning crews have access to their waiting aircraft with virtually no security checks or supervision," Capt. Woerth says.
He notes that ALPA has played a central role in many of the security changes since September 11, and has been urging adoption of a "Universal Access" ID card since 1987. The 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," he points out.
Capt. Woerth says the Association will defend the
arrested pilot, who was charged with two misdemeanors, "to ensure that a proper investigation has been conducted and that the pilot has been afforded appropriate due process."
In the meantime, flightcrew members are reminded to comply with the guidelines for security screening posted in the Security section (available in the Members Only area) of ALPA's website.