Pilots Association Gives Low Marks to Aviation Security

Aviation got low marks on a security report card issued by the Coalition of Airline Pilots Association when the association released its Aviation Security Report Card this week.

CAPA's president, Capt. Jon Safley, noted "gaping holes" in the security of aviation, and said that fixing the security of our nation's airlines "will require major changes in the way airlines and airports do business and in the way the government manages airline security."

The report card, which gave failing grades to the screening of employees and cargo, biometric credential implementation and other topics, gave aviation security an overall GPA of 1.1, translating to a "D."

"The technology exists, or could be updated, to address many of these security problems," Safley said in a statement to the media, "but neither the airlines, the airports nor government officials have given these issues the priority they deserve."

Safley pointed out that the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush late last year addresses biometric credentials, but until Congress actually appropriates funds, it remains an unfunded mandate.

Safley did note that baggage screening and passenger screening has improved, but said that it has not been paralleled with moves to secure against internal threats, such as ramp employees and malicious cargo.

Safley noted that the association is expecting an aviation security bill to be introduced to Congress by Rep. Edward Markey (Massachusetts), and said the association is "working with other members of Congress to strengthen the Federal Flight Deck Officers program."