UK Pilots Warn Of Body Scanners And Pat Downs


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UK Pilots Warn Of Body Scanners And Pat Downs

Eddy Metcalf

November 29, 2010 - The British Airline Pilots' Association (BALPA) on Thursday hailed the 'commonsense' of the United States' Transport Security Authority which has declared that airline pilots need not go through body scanners set up in the USA and that a new system will be introduced that allows free movement of US pilots inside the States based on pre-checks. 

Jim McAuslan, BALPA General Secretary, said ?this is a real victory for commonsense. Both BALPA and pilots in the USA have been pressing their governments to exclude professional pilots from body scanning and it is good to see the US Government has accepted our arguments.

?I can tell our Government that this news has added to British pilots' frustrations at the increasingly bureaucratic, inefficient and stress-inducing UK security regime which continues to see the pilot as a security threat rather than part of the solution. 


?On top of this the UK Government has failed to carry out independent verification of the cumulative impact of these machines and how individuals going through ionising scanners can keep count of their personal cumulative exposure. Although body scanners have not yet been installed at crew security lines in the UK they are increasingly being rolled out in passenger security areas, which British pilots also regularly use.  

?The Government's policy is that if anyone refuses to use these scanners they will be told they cannot fly. In the US an alternative 'pat down' is available, albeit this is being applied in an unacceptably intrusive way that many US citizens say is like "groping". 

?If the UK ploughs ahead with its plans it is going to face similar levels of civil resistance as the US administration faced. The UK should learn. The Government should call a halt on any further development until independent health and safety checks have been done and people can be reassured that there is no health risk.

?And the Government should come to an urgent agreement for UK pilots flying into the US to be on the same footing as our US cousins. Unless the British Government gets a grip on this then they will face a strong reaction that could see UK aviation grind to a halt.




?The Allied Pilots Association (APA) in the US advised pilots to refuse to go through scanners and that seemed to get their Government's attention. The fact is that airline pilots are the last line of defense in aviation security and are part of the solution, not part of the problem. We know that, the public sees that, and our administrators in the UK have got to get real.?

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