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Flight Attendants Still Lack Anti-Hijacking Training On Two-Year Anniversary of 9/11 Attacks

Date: September 10, 2003

WASHINGTON, DC *The following is a joint statement from the leaders of flight attendant unions representing the vast majority of all flight attendants in the U.S. aviation industry -- Association of Flight Attendants, AFL-CIO, International President Patricia Friend; Association of Professional Flight Attendants President John Ward; International Brotherhood of Teamsters Airline Division Director Don Treichler; and Transport Workers Union, AFL-CIO, Local #556 President Thom McDaniel.

"As the two-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks approaches, flight attendants 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.

"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.

"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. In response, however, 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. Airline lobbyists have tried every trick in the book, from opposing mandatory standards to requesting that flight attendants pay for security training out of their own pockets.

"Now Continental's lobbyists are at it again. At the last minute and without any discussion, Continental snuck a change into the FAA Reauthorization Bill Conference Report that made the once mandatory flight attendant security training guidelines voluntary, removing any requirement for the Transportation Security Administration to develop guidelines at all. Without mandatory requirements, the TSA and the industry will continue to do nothing.

"Recently, the government warned the airlines about intelligence that Al-Qaeda is again targeting aircraft. 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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