ALPA in the Congress underscored its support for Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS) as key element in multi-layered, risk-based approach to aviation security

Risk-Based Security Must Also Advance FFDO Program and Secondary Cockpit Barriers

WASHINGTON, D.C., 2015-7-20 — /Travel PR News/ — In testimony (written/oral) today before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Transportation Security, Capt. Tim Canoll, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), underscored the union’s support for the Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS) as a key element in a multi-layered, risk-based approach to aviation security that also includes advancing the Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) program and secondary cockpit barriers on passenger airliners.

“Throughout the FAMS history, ALPA members have been deeply impressed by the professionalism of the individual air marshals and the dedication of the program’s leaders,” said Capt. Canoll to members of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Transportation Security at a hearing titled, “Examining the Federal Air Marshal Service and its Readiness to Meet the Evolving Threat.”

For decades, ALPA pilots have had a strong relationship with the FAMS. ALPA leaders meet on a regular basis with the FAMS to ensure that pilots have the most current and accurate understanding of air marshals’ roles, responsibilities, training, and methods.

In his statement to the subcommittee members, ALPA’s president noted that the Federal Flight Deck Officer program also serves as another critical layer of protection and contributes to a risk-based approach to security.

“We believe that the funding level agreed on by Congress is adequate now for the TSA to continue to train new FFDOs while providing the management and oversight required,” Capt. Canoll explained. “The FFDO program is a successful, efficient, and effective program and should expand as necessary to meet our risk-based security objectives.”

In the wake of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, ALPA conceived of and advocated for the FFDO program, which became reality when Congress passed the Arming Pilots Against Terrorism Act in 2002. FFDOs are airline pilots who voluntarily undergo thorough screening and training by the Transportation Security Administration. Once qualified, these individuals are then deputized before assuming responsibility for protecting the cockpit.

Capt. Canoll also highlighted to the subcommittee members ALPA’s long-held position that installing secondary cockpit barriers on passenger airliners would create a common-sense additional layer of security by protecting the cockpit when the hardened door must be opened.

“Installing secondary cockpit barriers on passenger airliners would be an important security enhancement for many reasons, not the least of which is that FAMs and FFDOs would benefit from this additional layer of security as part of a multi-layered proactive strategy,” said ALPA’s president.

Concluding his remarks before the Transportation Security Subcommittee, Capt. Canoll stated, “At ALPA, we are committed to advancing aviation security to protect our passengers, our cargo, and our flight crews. We appreciate this subcommittee’s shared interest in exploring new ways to make a secure air transportation system even more secure.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing more than 51,000 pilots at 30 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at or follow us on Twitter @WeAreALPA.


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