July 23, 2012
Dear Friends and Flying Partners:
We are excited to announce a milestone for our profession: the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that Flight Attendants will be included in Known Crewmember, or KCM. This alternate screening program uses established security clearances related to our employment as certified safety and security professionals.
As first responders, Flight Attendants hold a primary stake in aviation security. We are the last line of defense in aviation security onboard the aircraft and we approach our role within the safety network with the utmost seriousness. Known Crewmember recognizes our integral role in maintaining US aviation safety.
Achieving Known Crewmember – A Priority for Our Union
AFA members helped to keep this important issue at the forefront. As the leading advocate for Flight Attendant inclusion since the moment the program was first conceived, we left no stone unturned to realize this accomplishment announced today.
Our union has advocated forcefully at many levels of government and industry to secure Flight Attendant inclusion in KCM. Our advocacy spanned high level appointees in the Obama Administration, including Department of Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano, TSA Administrator Pistole, Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Transportation officials and Members of Congress. Our Safety, Health and Security Department has diligently work with technical experts to ensure a path for Flight Attendants to be included in the program. AFA expert testimony and Congressional office visits helped build momentum for Flight Attendant inclusion in the program with support from Capitol Hill. In their unwavering support for Flight Attendants, Congressional Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), and Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) were champions of this issue, demanding full recognition for Flight Attendants as members of the crew and the industry’s most trusted travelers.
We applaud the TSA and Department of Homeland Security for implementing risk-based security that strengthens our network and allows us to focus on real threats. We will be working closely with the agency and our airlines to put the program into practice in the near term and we encourage you to look for additional details about the program to be posted on afacwa.org as soon as they are announced.
Implementation of KCM
We commend the TSA for its commitment to risk-based security screening and for working with AFA to implement KCM for Flight Attendants. We are dedicated to continuing our partnership with the TSA and to ensuring the success of this program. In addition, we will work with our airlines to press for Flight Attendant population into KCM databases in a timely fashion. Working with our airlines and the TSA, KCM can be introduced by year’s end at more than 30 airports, from coast to coast, implementing the same screening procedures for all crewmembers.
We commend the Air Line Pilots Association, ALPA, our counterpart union in the cockpit at many of our carriers, for its leadership in this process. ALPA was part of the initial test phase which included a limited number of crewmembers in a handful of airports. It was essential that this initial testing phase with be fully vetted so that the program could proceed and expand to include all crewmembers at significantly more airports.
Risk-Based Security and Program Benefits for Crew and Public
Let us be clear: KCM is not a means to bypass security. We continue to support 100% screening of all individuals who have access to our airplanes. It is an alternate, expedited screening process that utilizes real-time security clearance for aviation crewmembers.
This program both recognizes our role as first responders and the last line of defense, and it allows us to report to work with greater ease. Many of us are working more hours than ever before and tens of thousands of us commute to work by plane. Our lives will be improved by time not spent in a traditional security checkpoint each and every time we pass through a KCM airport.
Moreover, this will help to eliminate that most uncomfortable of situations where, in order to get to the plane on time, we have to cut to the front of the security line. This will not only benefit our passengers, it will also allow the TSA to provide better service. The program is very good news for everyone.
We are fully committed to providing Flight Attendants with the tools and information necessary to ensure the success of this program and the integrity of our nation’s aviation security network.
Collective Efforts by Flight Attendant Coalition
Today’s announcement is good news for all Flight Attendants and it is the result of our unified focus on achieving Flight Attendant inclusion in the program. We are especially gratified to announce this success with our Flight Attendant Union Coalition partners from the Transport Workers Union, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, the International Association of Machinists and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. All of us were committed to this program and we all supported getting here today.
Thank you for all you do for each other and our profession. Fly safe.
Veda Shook, International President
Association of Flight Attendants
KCM Flight Attendant Coalition Release>>
KCM TSA Release>>
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