Airlines' workers sending differing signals on safety

WASHINGTON: The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) and the

Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) are communicating contradictory

messages on security issues.

"I think this is a subject where a large part of everybody's message is

virtually the same, but of course, there are differences and nuances

about how to handle things," said John Mazor, an ALPA spokesman.

One point of disagreement involves whether or not pilots should be

armed, which the ALPA, representing 67,000 members, supports. Both

groups testified in front of at US House of Representatives aviation

subcommittee on the issue.

"The pilots have enough responsibility flying the aircraft safely," said

Dawn Deeks, AFA spokeswoman. "We would rather see an increase of fly

marshals on board." The AFA represents 49,000 flight attendants across

27 airlines.

The ALPA has also been working with the National Crime Prevention


They are trying to rally industry support for a public information

campaign under the motto "security is everybody's business." "We've had

limited success so far," Mazor admitted. Deeks said the AFA was not

interested in pursuing that sort of campaign at this time.

There are many areas of common ground for the organizations, including

support for reinforced cockpits and better safety training flight


Duane Woerth, ALPA president, and Patricia Friend, AFA president, have

been key spokespeople. Both serve on the Department of Transportation's

rapid response team on aircraft security.

Friend is currently taking road trips to hub cities and talking to

members about their concerns. Woerth has appeared on Good Morning

America and other news programs to discuss cockpit safety.

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