Why has US Airways been so quiet about that accidental gun discharge incident? The carrier seeks to answer that question in its latest employee newsletter (key phrases bolded below). Do you think this will make it all go away? I’m guessing not.
“Here’s some background on the Federal Flight Deck Officer’s (FFDO) program that may be helpful. The FFDO program was put into place after 9/11 and was developed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The program is administered completely by TSA — airlines, including US, aren’t involved in this program other than the fact that our employees, pilots specifically, can participate. Training and equipment are provided by the TSA and Federal Air Marshal Service and volunteers are responsible for their own travel, lodging, and daily expenses.
Pilots apply to be in the program, go through the testing, including specified psychological, medical or physical ability requirements, and then work directly with TSA on equipment, training, procedures, bi-annual requalification, and so on. In fact, the program is so confidential that limited people know the procedures on how an FFDO works, and that’s the point. We also keep the identities and number of participants confidential. This is for our protection and for our customers’ protection.
“Program participants are there to fight off a potential terrorist attack and the fewer people who know the procedures, the better so that the “bad guys” can’t infiltrate and counter those measures. Therefore, it isn’t our place to comment on the gun discharge in the cockpit on board a Denver-Charlotte flight on Saturday, March 22. The TSA has asked us to refer all media inquiries to them and we’re doing that.
“If we start speculating about what might have happened, we could inevitably divulge information Homeland Security does not want out in the public or compromise security in some other way so we’ve felt it best to defer to the TSA.”