AFA Claims Republican Leaders Stripped "Necessary Provisions
for Real Security Training"
AFA seems a mite
The bill passed by the Senate last Friday contained a historic
provision to certify flight attendants in their safety role onboard
the aircraft, and created a study of aircraft air quality problems.
However, AFA believes that a provision added in the conference
report stripped the TSA's directive to create a basic, mandatory
flight attendant security training program for airlines to
"This is a bittersweet victory for flight attendants.
Certification of flight attendants, who are solely responsible for
safety in the aircraft cabin, is long overdue," said AFA
International President Patricia Friend.
"Until this legislation passed, flight attendants were
the only safety- sensitive aviation employees that did not have the
FAA certify the successful completion of their required safety
Under the law, all
current flight attendants will be certified upon passage of the
legislation. The FAA has up to one year to provide flight
attendants with proof of their certification and up to 120 days to
provide certification to new flight attendants after they have
successfully passed their required FAA training.
The FAA Reauthorization also directed the FAA to study the
effects of poor air quality onboard aircraft. The law calls for the
agency to monitor air quality problems onboard the aircraft,
including the monitoring of ozone on a select number of flights,
analyze samples of residue from aircraft ventilation ducts and
filters after an air quality incident, analyze and study cabin
pressurization and establish an air quality incident reporting
While certification and the air quality study are significant
victories for flight attendants, the legislation also set a
dangerous course by stripping language that would have required the
Transportation Security Administration to establish industry-wide
standards for the basic, mandatory flight attendant security
airlines only need to provide two hours of security training to
qualify as "TSA approved" and international carriers only need to
provide four hours. These already dangerously low standards are in
danger of being eroded further without a standardized program.
Under airline pressure, the TSA has already granted
waivers to further reduce the minimum two to four hours of
training provided, and some carriers have asked for security
training components to be moved into home study packets. Carriers
are not required and often do not offer any hands-on training to
their flight attendants.
"While flight attendant safety and health certainly made some
significant gains in this legislation, flight attendant security
training fell victim to the partisan politics and anti-worker bias
shown by the Republican Leadership in Congress," said Friend. "The
airlines who curry favor with this Administration and Congress have
once again succeeded in allowing the airline's bottom-line
mentality to make decisions on aircraft security."