Executive Briefings

TSA Aircraft Screening Process Has Some Built-in Inequities

The new regulations stipulate that all cargo originated in the U.S. delivered to a passenger airline must be subjected to 100-percent screening. Fair enough, we all need adequate security measures, and after a frantic start, the Transportation Security Administration did sit down with all parties in the industry to make a governmental fiat into a standard procedure. But here's the rub: cargo tendered for freighters is exempted from the procedures, so that shippers of highly sensitive cargo such as pharmaceuticals, whose boxes cannot be manipulated after departure from their own warehouse, see their choice of airline limited to freighter carriers only.

This is bad enough, but think of the absurdity of this development. Apparently the lives of pilots onboard freighter aircraft is somehow not equated with the lives of passengers and cabin crew onboard passenger aircraft. Or the huge value of goods and business interests tied up with the tons of cargo onboard is ignored. And if a trend to leave belly capacity underutilized while expanding the freighter fleet to cater to the demands of the shipping industry kicks in, we will have even more aircraft flying across our skies in an age where we all try to minimize CO2 emissions (if the weaker passenger airlines don't go, well, belly up, if they are starved of cargo).

Yes, the situation is not that bad right now, and we are finding ways to continue to serve the majority of our loyal customers. But these very same customers, who have the right to choose an airline on the basis of service, expertise, experience or reliability, are being pushed along towards a choice based on type of aircraft, which otherwise has no value for them.

Source: Swiss WorldCargo

The new regulations stipulate that all cargo originated in the U.S. delivered to a passenger airline must be subjected to 100-percent screening. Fair enough, we all need adequate security measures, and after a frantic start, the Transportation Security Administration did sit down with all parties in the industry to make a governmental fiat into a standard procedure. But here's the rub: cargo tendered for freighters is exempted from the procedures, so that shippers of highly sensitive cargo such as pharmaceuticals, whose boxes cannot be manipulated after departure from their own warehouse, see their choice of airline limited to freighter carriers only.

This is bad enough, but think of the absurdity of this development. Apparently the lives of pilots onboard freighter aircraft is somehow not equated with the lives of passengers and cabin crew onboard passenger aircraft. Or the huge value of goods and business interests tied up with the tons of cargo onboard is ignored. And if a trend to leave belly capacity underutilized while expanding the freighter fleet to cater to the demands of the shipping industry kicks in, we will have even more aircraft flying across our skies in an age where we all try to minimize CO2 emissions (if the weaker passenger airlines don't go, well, belly up, if they are starved of cargo).

Yes, the situation is not that bad right now, and we are finding ways to continue to serve the majority of our loyal customers. But these very same customers, who have the right to choose an airline on the basis of service, expertise, experience or reliability, are being pushed along towards a choice based on type of aircraft, which otherwise has no value for them.

Source: Swiss WorldCargo