The U.S. and Canada have made
significant advancements in securing their air transportation systems since
the 9/11 attacks, but serious gaps remain, according to an analysis issued by the Air Line Pilots AssociationThe world’s largest pilots union report, titled Aviation Security, Five
Years After the 9/11 Attacks, provides pilots’ perspectives on the
accomplishments of the past five years and the challenges that lie ahead as
the U.S. continues to secure its air transportation system.
“The 9/11 attacks dramatically altered our nation’s perception of
aviation terrorism,” said ALPA President Duane Woerth. “Aviation security
has greatly improved since 9/11, but our system remains too focused on
finding objects, rather than the intent to do harm.”
ALPA’s analysis revealed gaps in the current security system, including
the need to:
* Implement individual risk assessment -
The government’s heavy emphasis on the detection of possible threat
objects, with less attention given to the detection of those with
destructive intent, leaves aviation vulnerable to future attacks.
* Improve identity verification and access controls -
Effective aviation security must verify the identity and employment status
of those individuals who are granted access to airport secured areas and
airliners—the current system could better use technology to become more
efficient and accurate.
* Enhance cargo security -
While the recently-released FAA Air Cargo Security Regulations final rule
has improved the security of the air cargo supply chain, much work remains
to be done to secure air cargo personnel, equipment, and operations.
* Put secondary cockpit barriers in place -
Developing and deploying secondary cockpit barriers, both as retrofit
devices and as standard equipment in future aircraft designs, will enhance
the security of the flight deck.
* Continue to develop the Federal Flight Deck Officer program -
The FFDO program has been a tremendous success in providing another
reliable layer in airline security, but the need to enhance training,
protocols and legal protections remains.
* Secure U.S. airport facilities -
Perimeter security of air operations areas and terminal buildings must
improve, especially at airports that service air freight operations.
* Focus on risk-based funding -
Government and industry must assess the costs and benefits of any proposed
countermeasure and allocate limited resources in the most effective way possible.
ALPA’s analysis also highlighted significant accomplishments in airline
security since 9/11, including strengthening the Federal Air Marshal and
Aircraft Protective Officer programs, establishing the Federal Flight Deck
Officer program, instituting reinforced flight deck doors, implementing
restricted area identity cards, and fostering government-industry