The TSA (Transportation Security Administration), in cooperation with the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), the Transport Workers Union (TWU) and Airlines for America (A4A), have announced plans for the second phase of the industry’s Known Crewmember (KCM) initiative, offering expedited security screening to verified flight attendants employed by U.S.-based airlines.
As part of TSA’s work to implement more risk-based security initiatives and speed up airport screening for low-risk travelers, the agency will expand the KCM program to include flight attendants traveling from U.S. airports. With this decision, flight attendants will receive KCM benefits at as many as 31 airports by the end of the year. Launched in 2011, the KCM program is currently limited to U.S. airline pilots.
“TSA is pleased to expand the Known Crewmember screening program to include flight attendants,” said TSA Administrator John S. Pistole. “Expanding these identity-based initiatives to individuals who are trusted travelers is a positive step in the evolution of the agency’s ongoing risk-based security approach.”
“Flight attendants are first responders and the last line of defense in aviation security,” said AFA-CWA President Veda Shook. “We applaud TSA and the Department of Homeland Security for implementing risk-based security that strengthens our network and allows us to focus on real threats. Known Crewmember recognizes our integral role in keeping U.S. aviation safe. We will be working closely with the agency and our airlines to put the program into practice.”
“Flight crews, and flight attendants in particular, are the trusted first responders responsible for protecting the flying public. TSA’s decision recognizes this fact while promoting increased efficiency in our industry and I applaud it,” said APFA President Laura Glading.
“We appreciate the recognition given to our professional flight attendants by the TSA Administrator. In addition to expediting the crew member screening process, we believe it will also assist in the flow of other passengers as they transition through the airport security lanes,” said TWU International President James C. Little.
“A4A has long advocated that as safety professionals, flight attendants should be included in the Known Crewmember program, and we are pleased to continue to partner with TSA on this risk-based screening system that improves safety, security and efficiency, benefiting both passengers and crew members,” said A4A President Nicholas E. Calio.
TSA anticipates that it could take up to 12 months for air carriers and their service providers to make the necessary system modifications and fully develop, test, and implement this change to the KCM program. Flight attendants could begin to experience expedited screening as early as fall 2012.
TSA will always incorporate random and unpredictable security measures throughout the airport screening process as no passenger is guaranteed expedited screening. TSA’s multi-layered approach to security consists of more than 20 layers, including behavior detection officers, explosives-detection systems, baggage screening, canine teams, and federal air marshals, among other measures both seen and unseen.