True "Pilot" Program Screens Cockpit Personnel
On Wednesday, a Southwest Airlines pilot was the first aircrew
member to be screened by the Transportation Security Administration
using an advanced biometric screening system.
The TSA-approved demonstration project, called SecureScreen,
will utilize biometrics to positively identify aircrew members --
which, in theory anyway, should make the screening process more
secure and more efficient.
SecureScreen was jointly developed by the Southwest Airlines
Pilots' Association (SWAPA), Southwest Airlines (SWA), the
Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations (CAPA), Maryland Aviation
Authority (BWI), officials from TSA, and Priva Technologies, the
developer of the Cleared Key, the core technology platform for
Over 200 Southwest pilots based at Baltimore/Washington
International Airport will participate in the SecureScreen trial,
which is slated to run for 60 days.
"Strengthening security into the cockpit has been a high
priority at SWAPA for the past few years and we are extremely
pleased to see this program come to fruition," said Capt. Carl
Kuwitzky, President of SWAPA. "We anticipate a successful trial at
BWI and strive to see this level of security implemented nationwide
to ensure that anyone with access to the cockpit has been
positively identified using a fingerprint or other form of
SecureScreen addresses the congressional mandates in H.R. 1
(Public Law 110-053), implementing the recommendations of the 9/11
Commission, which requires TSA to enhance security by properly
identifying authorized airline flight deck and cabin crew members
at screening checkpoints, granting them expedited access through
screening checkpoints and to integrate biometric identifiers into
airport security access control systems.
"We are excited about the upcoming test for the biometric
system," said Chuck Magill, Southwest Airlines Vice President of
Flight Operations. "We think that it offers a much higher degree of
security for our Pilots and will allow TSA a greater ability to
focus on other areas of the screening process. We have worked
together with SWAPA and TSA to create this test and believe that
coordinated efforts such as this allow us all to create a viable,
realistic, and state-of-the-art system."
SWAPA, Southwest and CAPA worked closely with members of
Congress on both sides of the aisle to ensure that biometric
screening was a part of the 9/11 bill. Southwest Airlines and SWAPA
have worked closely together for months to secure TSA approval for
this project and assure that the demo is a success.