ALPA Security Alert Bulletin 2001-2
Two days after the hijackings and subsequent attacks on New York and Washington, DC that killed over several thousand people, the Air Line Pilots Association of the U.S. issued a security alert bulletin concerning the enhanced security measures for airliners. The ALPA Security Committee, chaired by Captain Stephen Luckey, issued the following bulletin to their member pilots. Given the increased threats to the world's air transportation system, this bulletin may be of use to airline pilots around the world.
ALPA Security Alert Bulletin 2001-2
Subject: Recommendations for Resuming Flight Operations
ALPA has reviewed the new security measures promulgated yesterday by FAA and Transport Canada that are aimed at addressing the events of September 11th. There are numerous good procedures included therein, which we believe will help assure our members and the traveling public that the most stringent actions possible are being taken at this time, in advance of commencing air travel in the U.S. and Canada. We expect that these new procedures will be amended and improved as further information becomes available about the hijackings and/or the threat to aviation changes.
These security measures include a prohibition on the transport of knives of any sort, continuous inspection of passengers and their carry-on bags, aircraft searches, and a prohibition on acceptance, of cargo and mail by passenger aircraft. These actions should help address not only the new threat identified yesterday, but also the ongoing explosive device threat.
In addition to these new security initiatives, which the airlines and airports will implement, ALP A recommends that its members adopt the following guidance as they return to the cockpit:
1. Captains should not hesitate to exercise their fullest authority as the commander of the aircraft. If there is any doubt or suspicion about the security of a particular flight, do not close the door for takeoff until it is resolved. The captain should feel confident to enact reasonable security measures that exceed those mandated by the FAA and company. ALPA will give 100% support to any member who determines that it is unwise to accept a flight, due to security considerations.
2. Captains should review emergency procedures with the flight and cabin crew in the event of a hijacking or bomb threat. The extortion-type of hijacking requires restraint on the part of the crew and a negotiated response by law enforcement professionals. Suicidal hijackers, however, should be dealt with in an aggressive fashion in which the cabin and cockpit crew work together to eliminate the threat as soon as possible using all available means. This may include, as examples, depressurizing the aircraft or drastic aircraft maneuvering designed to keep hijackers off-balance and away from the cockpit.
3. If your aircraft has a cockpit door, close and lock it and do not allow anyone to enter without your knowledge and consent. In some aircraft, it is possible to lower the jumpseat to block the cockpit door or serve as an impediment to cockpit entry .The cockpit must be protected at all costs, regardless of what kinds of security breaches have occurred, or are occurring, in the back of the aircraft. You may wish to call upon passengers to assist in the event of an emergency. Canadian pilots should limit jumpseat access to only airline employees whose identity can be verified.
4. .If any type of security event begins in the cabin, do not hesitate to declare an emergency and put the aircraft down as quickly as practical.
5. Aircraft cockpits are equipped with a crash ax, which should be considered a potential defensive weapon in the event of a suicidal hijacking. The ax should only be wielded if the crewmember is convinced that using it is necessary to save lives -the pilot must be both mentally and physically prepared to take the life of a cockpit intruder. or the ax could be used against the pilot.
6. Lastly, captains should re-emphasize to their crews existing government and company security procedures and urge them to strictly comply with those measures.
ALPA is strongly urging further enhancements to security by adoption of the following measures in the near term:
1. Provide armed law enforcement escorts on air carrier flights for an undetermined period—which FAA and Transport Canada have already committed to doing on a limited basis.
2. Put a dead bolt lock on cockpit doors that cannot be overridden with a key from outside.
3. Provide enhanced security briefings for all flight crewmembers.
4. Apply the Computer-Assisted Passenger Prescreening (CAPPS) system to both domestic and international arrivals and departures in the U.S. and Canada. CAPPS, if properly configured, could help identify suicidal passengers prior to boarding.
Additionally, ALPA will urge the national aviation authorities to expeditiously accomplish the following:
1. Require that airlines implement a methodology for positively identifying each passenger and bag on the aircraft using currently available, computerized technology. Doing so will (1) create a deterrence effect and (2) help ensure that nothing comes aboard the aircraft that is not capable of being identified later.
2. Perform an overhaul of the U.S. and Canadian security screening checkpoint systems. The screening function should be performed by a single entity under the oversight of the national authorities using highly qualified, well-paid screening professionals and the best possible equipment.
3. Require that all personnel working at an airport be positively identified using electronic media. Improper controls on airline employee identification media contributed to a suicidal former employee bringing down PSA flight 1771 in 1987; better controls on ID have yet to be Implemented in spite of this event.
4. As part of number three (3) above, expedite the research, development, and deployment of the Memory Chip Card system in the U.S., with an equivalent system implemented in Canada, for the benefit of identifying armed law enforcement officers at the security checkpoint This system should also be used to electronically screen airline employees.
5. Complete research and development of an advanced cockpit door technology capable of securing the flight crew against attacks by would-be cockpit intruders, armed or otherwise. The door system, which must be fail-safe in the event of an accident requiring rapid egress, should be retro-fitted on current aircraft and installed by the manufacturer on new airplanes.
6. Install non-lethal, personal-defense devices as standard equipment in the cockpits of airline aircraft, subsequent to installation of the advanced cockpit doors described in number five (5) above.
Two previous Security Alert Bulletins are available on ALPA's website that should be referenced for further guidance: 2000-1, Inflight Attacks on Flight Crews; and, 2001-1, Theft of Pilot Uniforms and Credentials.
If you have any questions about security procedures for your flights, please contact your MEC's Security Coordinator, or alternatively, the Engineering & Air Safety Department at 800-424-2470.
Captain Stephen Luckey
Chairman, Security Committee
September 13, 2001
http://airsafe.com/events/war/alpa.htm -- Revised: 29 May 2008