Enhanced Airline Pilot Security Screening Takes Off At Chicago O’Hare


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Enhanced Airline Pilot Security Screening Takes Off At Chicago O’Hare

By Jim Douglas

August 10, 2011 - The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) and the Air Transport Association of America (ATA) on Tuesday began operating the first test site for the Known Crewmember program at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. 

Known Crewmember, a new enhanced security-screening program for airline crew members, positively verifies a pilot’s identity and employment status, strengthening aviation security and shortening screening lines for passengers.  

“Since 2007, the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l, has led a national effort, engaging with the Air Transport Association, the Transportation Security Administration, and the airlines, to make the Known Crewmember program a reality,” said Capt. Lee Moak, ALPA’s president.

“This enhanced screening process recognizes the extensive background checks pilots receive as part of their employment and, importantly, airline pilots’ critical role and responsibility in securing their aircraft each and every time they fly.”

“We are pleased to join with ALPA to advance an enhanced security-screening system that can improve security and reduce line congestion, benefiting both passengers and crew members,” said ATA President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio.

“We urge the TSA to include flight attendants in the Known Crewmember screening system so that they – and the traveling public – may also benefit from this enhanced screening system.”

The Known Crewmember program enables Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers to positively verify the identity and employment status of airline flight crew members. As a result, airline pilots, who already undergo thorough criminal background and employment checks as a condition of their employment, will be subject to a more efficient security-screening process.

It is the goal of ALPA and the ATA to make the program available to all U.S. airline pilots, and more than a dozen airlines already have connected to the system. The program, which links airline employee databases, initially will be available only to pilots, but ALPA, like the ATA, has asked the TSA to include flight attendants in the future.


The trial phase for the first three Known Crewmember access points began today at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Four more access points are slated to open at Miami International Airport later this month, with additional sites scheduled to begin operating later this year at airports including Boston Logan International Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

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