Lack of Air Marshals Makes Mandatory Training Vital

The following is a statement from Association of Flight Attendants,
AFL-CIO, International President Patricia Friend regarding the recent
statements made by the Air Transport Association on flight attendant
security training.
“Recent statements by the Air Transport Association claiming that
comprehensive flight attendant security training is already being
completed by the airlines are just not true.
“Today, the carriers are allowed to do whatever is cheapest and easiest.
Many carriers provide only an hour or two of security training with no
hands- on activities. Several airlines have secured exemptions to
abbreviate that training even further. The latest trend is for carriers to
make vast portions of flight attendant security training a home study
course.
“The Transportation Security Administration was required by the Homeland
Security Act of 2002 to issue training guidelines to ensure that airlines
provide a basic, comprehensive level of training for every flight
attendant. In testimony before the House Transportation and
Infrastructure`s aviation subcommittee on October 16, TSA Secretary James
Loy said the TSA has developed training standards for a comprehensive
program, but it isn`t in place, yet. And that means we have a hodgepodge
of shoddy training programs.
“Meanwhile, Continental Airlines and the TSA hide behind the Federal Air
Marshal program as a reason that flight attendants don`t need
comprehensive training. Air marshals are onboard a miniscule percentage of
flights each day, and the odds are that if another terrorist targets an
aircraft, the flight attendants and the passengers will be left to fight
for their lives on their own.
“The lack of TSA guidelines for truly comprehensive standardized training
is allowing the airlines to turn security training into a competitive,
bottom- line issue—and it could cost lives.”
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