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For Reciprocal Jumpseats, CASS Up and Go!

Jumpseat Committee

Air Line Pilot, May 2004, p.25

To many ALPA members, the jumpseat is a highly valued commodity. Shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, the FAA restricted use of the jumpseat to on-line employees, with all off-line "jumpseaters" required to ride in the cabin, which these days is too often unavailable. The Transportation Security Administration has further reinforced this restriction and regulates it via security directives.

Many ALPA members have voiced strong concerns about the need to restore reciprocal jumpseat access while maintaining or improving jumpseat security. ALPA’s National Jumpseat Committee, and its chairman, Second Officer Dan Gradwohl (Northwest), have heard that message loud and clear.

For more than a year, the Committee actively researched and promoted various technologies and methods for restoring reciprocal jumpseat access. Then, in the autumn of 2002, the Air Transport Association asked ALPA to support a system that it was developing.

The Air Transport Association system, called the Cockpit Access Security System (CASS), is a computer-based system that transmits queries to airline employee databases via an ARINC "proxy" server to positively verify the identity and employment status of pilots asking to use an off-line jumpseat. The responses to those queries are used to either approve or deny a jumpseat rider request.

The TSA has approved a 6-month CASS trial program using only Air Transport Association airlines as participants.

U.S. airlines that are currently members of the Air Transport Association and whose pilots are represented by ALPA are Alaska Airlines; Aloha Airlines; America West Airlines; ASTAR Air Cargo; ATA Airlines, Inc.; Atlas Air; Continental Airlines; Delta Air Lines; FedEx Corporation; Hawaiian Airlines; Midwest Airlines; Northwest Airlines; Polar Air Cargo; United Airlines; and US Airways.

U.S. airlines that belong to the Air Transport Association but whose pilots ALPA does not represent are ABX Air, Inc.; American Airlines; Evergreen International Airlines; JetBlue Airways; Menlo Worldwide Forwarding; Southwest Airlines; and UPS Airlines.

The Air Transport Association has completed its work on CASS, and the system is now ready for airlines to implement. Pending successful completion of the trial program, the TSA will allow other airlines to participate in CASS.

The Air Transport Association has developed and disseminated to all of its member airlines a draft contract for their use in procuring the services of ARINC to provide CASS-related technical support. ARINC’s fee for this service is very reasonable, so no airline has a credible cost argument to make against putting CASS into effect.

ALPA recently learned that UPS has a contract with ARINC and is expected to be the first airline that the TSA will approve to operate CASS. One major U.S. airline whose pilots are represented by ALPA is close to contracting with ARINC, and may also be using CASS soon.

So CASS is now ready to be implemented at all U.S. airlines that are members of the Air Transport Association, but each company has to take the necessary steps to make it a reality. If your airline belongs to the Air Transport Association, the company should apply to the TSA for CASS approval as specified in the most current version of the Air Transport Association document, Cockpit Access Security System Concept of Operations. The company also needs to contract with ARINC for CASS-related communications services.

ALPA is keenly interested in seeing the CASS system implemented as expeditiously as possible—at Air Transport Association airlines and, eventually, non-ATA carriers. Transport Canada has informed ALPA that it is monitoring developments in the United States and will consider making equivalent arrangements for jumpseat use in Canada, if the CASS trial program is a success.

The MEC Jumpseat Coordinator of each ALPA pilot group has accepted the responsibility to e-mail to ALPA’s National Jumpseat Committee a current update of his or her company’s progress on implementing CASS. The Committee will collect the information and post it on the ALPA website so that ALPA members can track the progress being made on this important initiative.

The ALPA National Jumpseat Committee’s website can be reached via the Members Only area of ALPA’s website, Check there regularly for updates.