Aviation security : slow progress in addressing long-standing screener performance problems
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Aviation security : slow progress in addressing long-standing screener performance problems

Filetype[PDF-72.62 KB]

  • English

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      NTL-AVIATION-Aviation Safety/Airworthiness
    • Abstract:
      This is the statement of Gerald L. Dillingham, Associate Director, Transportation Issues, Resources, Community, and Economic Development Division, before the Subcommittee on Aviation, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, House of Representatives regarding airport screeners' performance. Aviation is an attractive target for terrorists. A single lapse in aviation security can result in hundreds of deaths, destruction of equipment worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and have immeasurable negative impacts on the economy and the public's confidence in air travel. A number of measures have been put in place by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the aviation industry to provide the security needed for the aviation system; among the most important ones are the passenger screening checkpoints and the screeners who operate them. This testimony discusses the causes of screener performance problems in detecting threat objects, the status of efforts being made by FAA to address these causes, and the screening practices in five other countries as compared with the United States. To summarize, two important causes for the screeners' performance problems are the rapid turnover among screeners and human factors issues involved in their work. Turnover exceeds 100% a year at most large airports. The main reason for this is the low wages and few benefits given to most screeners. FAA has several interrelated initiatives underway to address the causes of the screeners' problems, including establishing a screening company certification program and a system for the automated monitoring of screeners' performance, and has established goals for improving performance. However these initiatives have not been completely implemented and are behind schedule. Other countries visited (Belgium, Canada, France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom) conduct their checkpoint screening differently. They include routing "pat-downs" of some passengers; they require screeners to have more extensive qualifications and to meet higher training standards; they pay screeners more and provide benefits; and they place the responsibility for screening with airports or the government instead of with air carriers.
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