Airline crew members get fingerprint IDs

The CrewPass program also uses an employee database

The Transportation Security Administration has approved standards for a fingerprint identification checking system for airline pilots and crew members, the agency has announced.

Under the system, named CrewPass, eligible crew members and pilots enter a secure area through the exit lane of the security checkpoint after presenting their airline-issued identification and another form of identification to TSA officers. Then TSA employees check those credentials against a cockpit access personnel database.

TSA’s actions are expected to lead to expansion of the identification verification program known as CrewPASS, which began operating at three airports last year as a demonstration program, the agency said Aug. 5.

The Air Line Pilots Association International (ALPA) developed CrewPass in early 2007 to perform identity checks against the existing Cockpit Access Security System personnel database, which includes a photograph. TSA started a pilot project for CrewPass in 2008 at airports in Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Columbia, Ga. In June, CrewPass added a fingerprint identification

“Working together, TSA, ALPA, ARINC [Aeronautical Radio Inc.] and others made CrewPASS a success in its test phase, and soon it will be possible to put it in place at airports nationwide," said Capt. John Prater, president of ALPA.

ARINC is the vendor for CrewPass technology. The TSA also has tested other airline worker identification systems in pilot programs.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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