9/11: Flight Attendants Still Lack Anti-Hijacking Training

On the two-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, flight attendants are complaining they still have not received any meaningful anti-terrorist security training to help protect their lives or the lives of their passengers in case of another deadly attack onboard an aircraft.

In a joint statement, Patricia Friend, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, AFL-CIO; John Ward, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants; Don Treichler, airline division director of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters; and Thom McDaniel, president of the Transport Workers Union, AFL-CIO, Local #556, commented, "Flight attendants from American and United died while doing their jobs, trying to protect their passengers and the cockpit from terrorists. Neither their airlines nor the government trained them to handle the very real threat of terrorism. Now as we put on our wings and go to work two years later, we still have not received the vital training we need to save our own lives and the lives of our passengers."

The groups noted Congress has passed two sets of legislation that mandated comprehensive security and anti-hijacking training for flight attendants: the Air Transportation Security Act and the Homeland Security Act. They complained the airlines "have been successful in using loopholes to avoid providing anything more than minimal training that mocks the law, or using their leverage on Capitol Hill to gut the legislation."

The groups are complaining that changes were made in the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Bill Conference Report that make the once-mandatory flight attendant security training guidelines voluntary, removing any requirement for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to develop guidelines.

Pointing out that recently, the government warned the airlines about intelligence that Al- Qaeda is again targeting aircraft, the statement said, "We lost our co-workers on Sept. 11, and over the past two years, we have seen first hand the havoc that terrorism can cause to our airlines, our profession and our lives. But even though the threat of terrorism is with us everyday, the crew and passengers in the aircraft cabin will be left defenseless if the FAA Reauthorization Bill is allowed to pass."

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