US Senator: TSA must address Known Crew Member program concerns

US Senator: TSA must address Known Crew Member program concerns

Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Security, today sent a letter to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) expressing his concern over recent changes to the Known Crew Member Program (KCM).

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The KCM links airline employee databases to TSA systems in order to allow TSA security officers to verify the identity and employment status of crewmembers. The Known Crew Member program then allows the TSA to expedite the airport security screening of verified crewmembers, which reduces the number of people in passenger screening lines while protecting aviation safety from potential insider threats.

Recently, the TSA considered shutting down the KCM, before instead making abrupt and disruptive changes to the requirements for expedited crewmember screening. Unfortunately, the TSA announced these new requirements without consulting or providing advance notice to the relevant stakeholders, including airline pilots and flight attendants. This process resulted in widespread uncertainty among crewmembers across the nation.

“Although rapid decisions must sometimes be made in light of specific threats to aviation security, I believe that the TSA must consult all the relevant stakeholders whenever possible before taking this kind of action,” writes Senator Markey in his letter to TSA Administrator David P. Pekoske. “Airline pilots, flight attendants, and other crewmembers offer a particularly valuable perspective on aviation security. These employees are our eyes in the skies and serve on the frontlines of aviation security and safety. I urge you to commit to proactively consulting and notifying these communities about any future changes to the KCM or related programs.”