New program expected to speed up security screening at DIA
DENVER — A new security screening program that claims to move airport passengers through security lines quicker by expediting and enhancing the security screening process for pilots is set to be instituted at the Denver International Airport.
Developed by the Air Line Pilots Association and Airlines for America, “Known Crewmember” is a security screening system that has been installed at 21 airports in the United States and will launch at DIA’s North Checkpoint at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
The new screening process works with the use of laptops provided to every pilot. The computers contain an identification number that validates the pilot’s employment status, and when scanned, a photograph of the pilot is produced within two seconds. That likeness is verified against two forms of identification and he or she is allowed to pass through security with no additional screening.
According to the Air Line Pilots Association, subjecting pilots to the same screening as passengers was a pointless exercise considering pilots have access to an axe on the flight deck in addition to the trajectory of the plane.
“Professional airline pilots are the most highly screened employee group in the aviation industry,” the Air Line Pilots Association wrote in a release. “They have successfully passed in‐depth pre‐employment background investigations, they have been subjected to fingerprint‐based criminal‐history record checks and they are the most highly-screened employee group in the aviation industry.”
The Known Crewmember program was introduced in seven trial airports in 2011, including Boston Logan, Chicago O’Hare, Miami, Minneapolis–St. Paul, Phoenix Sky Harbor, Seattle–Tacoma and Washington Dulles.
Critics of the program said its lack of biometric identification would leave it vulnerable to terrorists posing as pilots. But over the course of 90-day test runs at each of the first seven airports, over 340,000 pilots were screened at “Known Crewmember” checkpoints without any security breeches.
There have been no reported security breeches since the program began expanding its reach this year, either.