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AAAE Security SmartBrief

March 14, 2013

TSA implements hiring freeze, overtime ban for screeners
The Transportation Security Administration does not plan to furlough airport screeners, but a hiring freeze and overtime ban may lead to longer lines. “Right now, we’ve been able to avoid the furlough, but it’s not a guarantee,” said Stacy Bodtmann, a regional vice president for TSA’s union. USA Today/Today In The Sky blog (3/13)


Debate over TSA knife rule revision not letting up
The Transportation Security Administration’s latest move to allow some small pocketknives on planes has sparked outrage, though the intent of the new rule was to focus less on physical items and more on terrorists’ threats. More discussion is expected at a House Homeland Security subcommittee hearing today. “You have a 90-year-old grandma, you?re going to strip-search her, and then you?re going to allow someone to carry on a knife? They?re not consistent in their approach toward security,” Jeff Addicott, director of the Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary?s University in San Antonio, said of the TSA. Bloomberg Businessweek (3/14)

Airlines aim to switch computer language in ticket system
The International Air Transport Association is hoping to use XML computer language for ticket sales as a way to personalize air travel. Third-party booking websites and other travel groups say the move could make it harder for consumers to compare prices. IATA Chief Executive Tony Tyler says the current language focuses on finding the lowest prices, but airlines want to cater pricing and ancillary services to customers, something that the old language inhibits. The Department of Transportation is accepting public comments on the proposal until April 1. USA Today (3/12)

American to roll out self-tag baggage at Chicago O’Hare
American Airlines plans to introduce a self-tag baggage system at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport on Friday. The system features check-in kiosks for passengers, who can print out baggage tags without waiting for a customer service agent. American has installed the system at three other airports, where it has reduced check-in times. American City Business Journals/Chicago (3/13)


EU plans stricter laws for airline passenger rights
The European Commission has proposed stricter guidelines for passenger rights with a new law. Airlines with canceled flights would be required to reroute passengers within 12 hours or find alternative ways for passengers to reach their destinations. The Association of European Airlines expressed concern about the “operational burden on the industry.” The Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones Newswires (3/13) The Washington Post/The Associated Press (3/13)


FAA imposes hiring freeze for air-traffic controllers
As a result of budget cuts from sequestration, the Federal Aviation Administration has instituted a hiring freeze for air-traffic controllers. Around 3,000 controllers are eligible for retirement, which could leave the agency understaffed if eligible workers choose to retire. Politico (Washington, D.C.) (3/13)

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