ALPA's Views in the News

News media interest in aviation security remains very high—especially, in recent weeks, on the issue of guns in the cockpit.

John Mazor, a senior communications specialist in ALPA’s Communications Department, says, "We continue to receive scores of calls from reporters every week regarding aviation security—from regular beat reporters to hundreds of reporters who never had cause to be exposed to ALPA before—now they know who we are and where to go for the viewpoint of professional airline pilots. Our communications activities regarding aviation security have broadened our reach and enhanced our communications with the news media."

ALPA’s key pilot spokesmen on aviation security have included ALPA’s president, Capt. Duane Woerth; ALPA’s first vice-president, Capt. Dennis Dolan; ALPA’s executive administrator, Capt. Howard Attarian; and the chairman of ALPA’s National Security Committee, Capt. Steve Luckey.

These spokesmen have presented ALPA’s views on aviation security through interviews with a number of newspaper and magazine reporters. These print news outlets have included such national publications as The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Time magazine. In addition, ALPA has seen continuing interest in aviation security from major metropolitan dailies, such as The Atlanta Journal Constitution and The San Francisco Chronicle.

Some 35 working journalists from around the country attended a special 4-day seminar, "Airlines and Airports: Security and Commerce," held April 16–19 at the University of Maryland’s Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. Capt. Dolan spent an afternoon with these journalists, explaining ALPA’s position about all aspects of airport and airline security and answering dozens of questions.

ALPA’s pilot spokesmen also have appeared numerous times on radio and television, including The Jim Lehrer News Hour; CNBC; Fox News’ On the Record; and National Public Radio’s Talk of the Nation. Mazor adds, "Local TV stations have expressed enormous interest in aviation security."

On April 30, Capt. Luckey shared the television lights with Reps. Don Young (R-Alaska) and John Mica (R-Fla.) when they held a press conference in the hearing room of the House Subcommittee on Aviation to announce their bill, the Arming Pilots Against Terrorism Act (H.R.4365). The Mica/Young bill would require airlines and the Transportation Security Administration to develop a program to permit line pilot volunteers with military or law enforcement experience to be trained and deputized to have firearms in the cockpit.

"About a dozen TV cameras and about three dozen reporters came to the press conference," Mazor recalls. "They kept Capt. Luckey and the congressmen there for about an hour and a half, including their statements and follow-on questions. The usual congressional press conference lasts only about half an hour."