In addition to funding the TSA, the Fiscal Year 2013 Homeland Security Appropriations bill requires the TSA Administrator to “establish procedures allowing members of cabin flight crew of air carriers to participate in the Known Crewmember program” within 270 days. Following is Ms. Shook’s statement:
“We thank Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) for her Congressional leadership and for partnering with AFA to insist that all crewmembers have access to alternate security screening. From the moment this concept was first discussed, AFA has been the leading advocate for the inclusion of Flight Attendants in alternate screening, now referred to as the Known Crewmember program. We fully support TSA’s implementation of risk-based passenger security screenings as well as expedited alternate screenings as part of that process.
“In addition to working with influential Congressional leaders such as Representatives Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), AFA has met with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, as well as high-level TSA officials, asserting in no uncertain terms that, as first responders, Flight Attendants are an integral part of the flight crew and should be included in the alternate screening program TSA currently extends to Pilots.
“Flight Attendants are key partners in the advancement of alternate screening systems. AFA has played an integral role in supporting resources for the TSA to make screening more convenient without sacrificing security. Flight Attendants have the same level of background checks as Pilots and are charged with protecting the cockpit at all costs. The time is now to include Flight Attendants in Known Crewmember.”
TSA launched the Known Crewmember program in 2011 in cooperation with the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) and Airlines for America (A4A). Despite public support from ALPA and A4A, who currently sponsor and fund the successful screening program, TSA continues to consider when or whether to extend participation to Flight Attendants.