Securing the safety of our nation’s aviation system is our industry’s top priority. In order to maintain our standing as the safest air transport system in the world, we rely on a multilayer approach to security, using numerous strategies that all play important roles. One of those critical layers is the Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) program.
Since 2003, the FFDO program has been tremendously successful as a strong, ongoing deterrent against hijacking threats. FFDOs are cargo and passenger pilots who volunteer their personal time in order to receive the training required to become deputized FFDOs, and these pilot volunteers pay a portion of the expenses associated with the program. In total, thousands of ALPA pilots flying for cargo and passenger airlines have volunteered their time defending our airspace, securing nearly a million flight segments every year without any personal compensation.
The FFDO program is a proven and cost-effective component of transportation security in this country and has often been praised by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for the additional layer of protection it brings to air transportation.
In the light of recent global security concerns, fiscally responsible programs like FFDO is simply sound policy. The cost to secure the cockpit with an FFDO is approximately $17 per flight; this program is not only good public policy, it makes good economic sense.
The program needs to be strengthened, not eliminated. President Obama’s 2015 budget blueprint cut FFDO funding and eliminated TSA staff positions that are critical to maintaining the program. Today’s FFDO program is already at minimal funding levels and unless adequate numbers of pilots are accepted for training on an ongoing basis, the program will shrink and fail.
Along with ALPA pilots who continue every day to make many personal sacrifices to protect our nation’s airline passengers, crews, and cargo by serving as FFDOs, our union will continue to lead the fight to ensure this crucial program continues to protect lives and airplanes.
Please participate today in ALPA’s latest Call to Action by clicking here. It takes less than two minutes and sends the message to the White House about the importance of protecting funding for this program.