April 3, 2002
Contact: Dawn Deeks 202/712-9799 ext. 804
Flight Attendants Call for Consistency in Aircraft Searches
Some Carriers Providing a Lower Standard of Security
WASHINGTON, DC –The Association of Flight Attendants, AFL-CIO, has asked the Department of Transportation and the Transportation Security Administration for a consistent rule to ensure that carriers use trained personnel with ample time to conduct aircraft searches for suspicious and dangerous materials. The Federal Aviation Administration mandated the searches after September 11.
AFA International President Patricia Friend made the request in a letter dated March 26 to DOT Secretary Norman Mineta and TSA Undersecretary John Magaw. AFA has been working with management at several carriers to ensure the searches are done properly. However, some regional airlines have refused to bring in trained personnel or train flight attendants and provide sufficient time to do the searches effectively.
“Flight attendants and passengers on regional airlines deserve the same standard of security provided at the major airlines,” said Friend. “It is clear that the DOT must intervene to ensure that these carriers are not allowed to cut corners when it comes to security.”
Currently, US Airways Express carriers Piedmont, Allegheny and PSA Airlines and United Express carrier Air Wisconsin are the airlines requiring flight attendants to conduct new security searches in addition to current pre-flight safety checks, without providing any training or additional time. Flight attendants are required by law to conduct pre-flight safety checks of emergency equipment before each flight. Carriers allot the minimum amount of time needed to conduct the emergency equipment checks prior to boarding. These checks were in place prior to September 11.
However, these flight attendants have received no additional training or time to conduct the new exhaustive security searches. And because of the time crunch brought on by the added duties, ground supervisors are pressuring flight attendants – sometimes wielding the threat of discipline – to cut the searches short so passengers can be boarded and an “on-time” departure achieved.
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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