House Restores FFDO Funding to $25M

Revenue-neutral amendment to TSA funding bill ensures that armed pilots will remain in cockpit for added level of aviation security

The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), praised the U.S. House of Representatives today for passing an amendment to the Homeland Security appropriations bill that would continue funding for the Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) program, which would be eliminated under the administration’s current budget proposal.

In a letter sent to all 435 House members, ALPA President Capt. Lee Moak said that the FFDO program is a proven success that has provided a strong, ongoing deterrent against potential hijackings at a cost of just $17 per flight segment.

“Today, many thousands of FFDOs protect the flight decks of our nation’s airliners at a very minimal cost to the U.S. government and the American taxpayer,” Moak said. “Because the FFDO program is comprised of volunteer airline pilots who have been trained and deputized to protect the flight deck and who pay for much of their program costs out of their own pockets, the program offers an unprecedented value for the critical service provided.”

The FFDO program was created in 2003 and has had an annual budget of just $25 million per year. Moak urged House members to support an amendment sponsored by representatives John Mica (R-Fla.), Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), and Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) that would restore $12.5 million for the FFDO program by reallocating resources within TSA’s aviation security account. The amendment is revenue-neutral and has broad bipartisan support.

“For the past 10 years, FFDOs have protected millions upon millions of commercial airline flights at very little cost to the taxpayers, adding a valuable layer of security in our transportation system that complements both object-based screening and risk-based security,” Moak said. “We know of no other aviation security program that can compare to the FFDO program in terms of effectiveness and efficiency.”

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