WASHINGTON, D.C. - The president of the world’s largest union of airline pilots praised the U.S. Senate for approving on May 8 legislation to strengthen air cargo security. The “Air Cargo Security Act” (S.165), introduced by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex) in January, rectifies the exclusion of all-cargo pilots from the original legislation in the Homeland Security Act.
“We applaud the Senate action to strengthen security for the cargo airlines,” said Capt. Duane Woerth, president of Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA). “This legislation represents a significant step toward achieving the one level of security that is vital to our industry and homeland defense. It also affords the opportunity for cargo crewmembers to volunteer for the Federal Flight Deck Officer program, an important measure considering that numerous personnel and guest cargo ‘handlers’ fly on cargo aircraft.”
The legislation would require that cargo facilities be inspected, and, that the federal government work with other countries to conduct regular checks at facilities overseas where cargo bound for the United States is handled. It would also call for cargo-only airlines to develop a security plan for their facilities, operations, and employees that includes background checks and tamper-proof employee identification cards.
On May 8, the House of Representatives Aviation Subcommittee of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure cleared a provision to arm cargo cockpit crews in H.R.765, similar to the Senate bill’s provision. When Capt. Woerth testified before the Committee on May 8, he asked the Committee to support H.R.765, which would authorize cargo pilots to carry guns. (Capt. Woerth’s statement to the Committee can be found on ALPA website at www.alpa.org.)
ALPA represents 66,000 airline pilots at 42 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA website is at www.alpa.org.