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Flight Attendants to be Certified in Emergency Safety/Security Training

Date: April 30, 2003

WASHINGTON, DC –Legislation will be introduced in the House of Representatives today that will improve aircraft cabin safety by providing consistent emergency training and certification for cabin crew members. Flight attendants from dozens of airlines, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants, AFL-CIO, joined Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Rep. Sue Kelly (R-NY) to unveil new legislation that will standardize and certify flight attendants in the emergency and security training they receive.

“Flight attendants are trained in federally-mandated evacuation, fire fighting, medical emergency and security procedures, but remain the only safety and security sensitive airline employees whose training is not certified by the Federal Aviation Administration,” said AFA International President Patricia Friend. “Flight attendants are solely responsible for safety and security in the passenger cabin. The lack of certification has resulted in a patchwork of training programs that have made the overall FAA training standards for the aircraft crew anything but standard.”

Currently, airlines must abide by a minimum training formula determined by the FAA. However, waivers to the FAA standards are routinely given out at the local level, eroding the integrity of the training and ensuring that no two trainings throughout the system are alike even though the training may be for the same type of aircraft.

By only making waivers available at the headquarters level, the FAA can ensure a premium level of training for all flight attendants who work for U.S. based airlines. Additionally, with one standard, flight attendant training would be portable for those professionals who change airlines mid-career.

As it stands now, if a veteran flight attendant is laid off of chooses to work for another airline, she must start her training from scratch at the new airline. Under the new system, flight attendants would be certified in their medical, security and safety roles to work on specific types of aircraft, regardless of the carrier. Airlines could potentially save money by hiring seasoned professionals who only need a one to two day recurrent training than the initial three to eight week training.

“Our training must reflect the requirements that are continually added to the flight attendant profession,” Friend said. “We are the firefighters, medics, mediators and security guards onboard the aircraft and we must make sure that each and every flight attendant is fully trained to provide the services that the flying public expects and deserves.”

In order to be certified, flight attendants will be required to successfully complete the training requirements established by the FAA and the TSA and successfully perform the assigned duties of a cabin crew member and complete an approved proficiency check.

More than 50,000 flight attendants at 26 airlines join together to form AFA, the world’s largest flight attendant union. Visit us @ www.afanet.org.

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