THE MAGAZINE

Aviation security

Five Fs, 4 Ds, 3 Cs, and 2 Bs. If you brought home a report card like this when you were a kid, you’d be grounded. The U.S. aviation security industry just brought home those grades, but don’t expect planes to be grounded any time soon. The “teacher” handing out these dismal marks is the Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations (CAPA), which brings together the 22,000-pilot-strong union membership of five airlines. The worst grades went to screening cargo, credentialing, crew training in self-defense, missile defense, and employee screening. In comments accompanying the report card, CAPA notes that “near total reliance” on the Known Shippers program for cargo screening is a “serious flaw.” Comments under credentialing note that the Transportation Security Administration has yet to deploy available biometric technology.
Here’s the breakdown of grades: Barely receiving a passing grade of D were perimeter security, threat intelligence, federal flight-deck officers on passenger planes, and federal flight-deck officers on cargo planes. Grades of C went to passenger screening, federal air marshals, and classroom training for crew. Faring best, with grades of B, were bag screening and passenger flight-deck doors. “The reinforced doors are installed and appear to be working well,” say the comments accompanying the report card.@ The comments and the report card can be accessed via SM Online.

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