FORT WORTH, Texas—To enhance airport security and improve screening procedures, American Airlines today urged Transportation Security Administration Chief John Magaw to expedite and standardize the screening process for pilots, flight attendants, airport agents and other airline ground employees.
Currently, airport screening methods for flight crews are “inconsistent, cumbersome and operationally taxing,” American Airlines executives wrote in a letter sent to Magaw today.
The letter was signed by Robert Kudwa, vice president of Flight; Jane Allen, vice president of Flight Service; and Dan Garton, executive vice president of Customer Service, who together oversee more than 57,600 American Airlines flight and airport personnel.
“The security processes for flight crews and airport workers, who undergo extensive background screening, should be standardized and separate from those used to screen passengers,” said Kudwa, who also serves on the Air Transport Association committee investigating the use of biometrics.
American Airlines is calling upon Magaw to develop an “expedited and revamped screening process for our nation’s most trusted travelers - the men and women who crew our commercial planes and service our passengers.”
The letter asked for a revision to existing airport employee security policies that allow each airport to establish individual standards and maintain separate databases of employees with security clearance.
In addition, airline officials said that flight employees should be screened at designated checkpoints reserved for their use and separate from those used to screen passengers.
“To ensure the high level of customer service and flight performance we hope to maintain, we must design security measures that provide flight employees efficient, seamless movement through airports,” Allen said.
American Airlines officials believe the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) should establish a national database to prevent the delays, confusion and potential security breaches that could result from a patchwork system of different databases and screening processes.
The letter also recommends that the TSA adopt standardized identification protocols using biometrics or the proposed Transportation Worker Identification Cards (TWICs).
“We are proud to cooperate with federal authorities to help fortify airport security and implement any measures necessary to ensure the safety of the traveling public,” Garton said. “We look forward to working with Undersecretary Magaw on this important initiative.”
American Airlines, the world’s largest carrier, together with its regional affiliates American Eagle and the American Connection carriers, serves more than 251 cities in more than 40 countries and territories with more than 4,400 daily flights.