On the anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil and one which dramatically changed the global aviation industry, a passenger rights group has called out the Trump Administration, claiming the policies being pursued by the President are both “ineffective” and even “dangerous”.
“We are alarmed that the Trump Administration is hiding and failing to correct past inadequacies and compounding them by pursuing newly misguided policies,” remarks Paul Hudson, the president of FlyersRights.org and a long-serving member of the Aviation Security Advisory Committee.
Hudson cites a number of policies which he claims are putting American airline passengers in danger. Chief amongst his complaints is a policy which not only allows but actually encourages passengers to check their guns and ammunition in their hold luggage.
While this makes the passenger cabin safe, Hudson points to a tragic January 2017 incident at Fort Lauderdale airport where an ISIS-inspired combat veteran shot five people dead and seriously injured a further five passersby after accessing his weapon and ammunition in the baggage reclaim hall.
Other concerns include:
- A budget proposal which would eliminate airport security patrols and instead hand over security responsibility to local law enforcement
- Allowing “highly invasive pat downs” which “undermind public confidence”
- Ineffective policies to protect airports from drone attacks
The passenger rights group says the TSA and Department for Homeland Security have also refused to implement so-called perimeter security at airports – something, they say would protect U.S. passengers from a Brussels or Istanbul attack in which suicide vest wearing terrorists blew themselves
up in the landside airport concourse.
“The U.S., despite many TSA problems, has been fortunate to have avoided massive new aviation terrorism attacks since 9/11/2001. But unless effective security policies are updated and bad ones discontinued, we fear that such relative good fortune will not continue despite good faith efforts by most TSA employees,” explained Hudson.
The TSA recently revealed around one in every 200,000 passengers attempted to get through security checkpoints with a gun in 2017 – of those, 84% were loaded. In fact, the TSA detected a loaded handgun at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport just four days before the anniversary of 9/11.
Flight attendants remember 9/11
— Sara Nelson (@FlyingWithSara) September 11, 2018
Sept. 11, 2001 – we will never forget. pic.twitter.com/lAaY3IkhGm
— American Airlines (@AmericanAir) September 11, 2018
— United Airlines (@united) September 11, 2018
Marking the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 attack, Sara Nelson – the president of the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) remarked:
“On September 11, 2001, twenty-five Flight Attendants took action as first responders in a war we didn’t know we were fighting. These heroes were among the first to relay the intelligence that alerted our country and our flying partners on Flight 93, who in turn sacrificed their own lives to save countless others on the ground.”
“We promised to Never Forget. We promised to Never Forget the events of that day and to ensure they never happen again. Our heroes will forever unite us.”