Instructed TSA To Extend Expedited Security Screening To All Flight Attendants
In a statement released Wednesday, AFA-CWA president Veda Shook thanked members of the U.S. Senate for directing TSA to have all flight attendants added to the alternate security screening program 'Known Crewmember' in its FY2013 appropriations bill. In addition to funding the TSA, the Fiscal Year 2013 Homeland Security Appropriations bill requires the TSA Administrator to "establish procedures allowing members of cabin flight crew of air carriers to participate in the Known Crewmember program" within 270 days.
"We thank Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) for her Congressional leadership and for partnering with AFA to insist that all crewmembers have access to alternate security screening. From the moment this concept was first discussed, AFA has been the leading advocate for the inclusion of flight attendants in alternate screening, now referred to as the Known Crewmember program," Shook (pictured) said in the statement. "We fully support TSA's implementation of risk-based passenger security screenings as well as expedited alternate screenings as part of that process.
Shook said representatives of the union met with congressional leaders as well as Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and high-level TSA officials. She said that as first responders, FAs are an integral part of the flight crew and should be included in the alternate screening program TSA currently extends to pilots. "Flight attendants are key partners in the advancement of alternate screening systems. AFA has played an integral role in supporting resources for the TSA to make screening more convenient without sacrificing security. flight attendants have the same level of background checks as Pilots and are charged with protecting the cockpit at all costs. The time is now to include flight attendants in Known Crewmember," she said.
TSA launched the Known Crewmember program in 2011 in cooperation with the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) and Airlines for America (A4A). Despite public support from ALPA and A4A, who currently sponsor and fund the successful screening program, TSA continues to mull when or whether to extend participation to flight attendants.