July 10, 2002
Contact: Dawn Deeks 202/712-9799 ext. 804
House Passes Bill Making Flight Attendant Security Training Mandatory
Even Stronger Bill in Senate Awaits Action
WASHINGTON— Patricia Friend, International President of the Association of Flight Attendants, AFL-CIO, praised the House of Representatives for passing the “Arming Pilots Against Terrorism Act,” which includes language that finally makes cabin crew security training mandatory, the first direct order to the airline industry to provide protections for the cabin crew and passengers onboard aircraft:
“Since 9/11, airports have received stronger security, the cockpit has gotten more secure in the event airport security fails, but until today, cabin crew and passengers’ lives have been left with no additional protection.
“Passage of this bill today is the first step in ensuring that flight attendants finally get the comprehensive training we need to do our jobs protecting our passengers and the cockpit from terrorist threats.
“We have seen that security screening checkpoints in airports are not flawless and that weapons can still make it into the passenger cabin. Earlier legislation that increased aviation security failed to force carriers to provide comprehensive training to protect flight attendants and passengers. And air carriers have taken that loophole and exploited it, delaying training and making a mockery of the law by having flight attendants watch 15-minute videos and saying they’ve been trained.
“Thanks to the dedication of Rep. Steve Horn (R-CA) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), this act contains strong flight attendant training language.
“We have guarantees from the leaders of the House Transportation Committee that the flight attendant training language will be made even stronger once this bill reaches the Conference Committee. And we plan to work diligently to make sure that language is strengthened.
“Thank you to the House Transportation Committee leadership who have now lead the way in protecting the people in the back of the airplane. Our lives, and the lives of all of our passengers are at stake, and you have taken a necessary step in finally offering us some protection against future terrorist threats.”
More than 50,000 flight attendants at 26 airlines join together to form AFA, the world’s largest flight attendant union. Visit us @ www.afanet.org.
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