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Backlash Grows Against TSA Decision to Allow Knives on Planes

March 12, 2013
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Lawmakers and airline CEOs are strongly voicing their opposition against allowing small knives on commercial airplanes beginning in April, yet Transportation Security Administration Administrator John Pistole is sticking to the decision.

Starting April 25, passengers flying on U.S. flights will be allowed to carry small pocket knives – blades less than 6-centimeters long – up to two golf clubs, ski poles, as well as sporting sticks used for hockey, lacrosse and billiards. Baseball bats will remain on the no-fly list, although wiffle-ball bats and souvenir baseball bats (less than 24-inches long) will be allowed.

Razor blades and box-cutters like those used by the 9/11 terrorists will still be banned.

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), who is ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee, joined Reps. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) and Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), who also serve on the committee, in writing a letter urging Pistole to refrain from implementing the change, said The Washington Post.

The industry's chief trade group, Airlines for America, said in a statement: "Additional discussion is warranted before items that have been banned for more than 11 years are allowed back on aircraft."

Delta Air Lines chief executive Richard Anderson, said that the decision will add little to aviation security efficiency while raising risks for passengers and crew members.

US Airways CEO Doug Parker asked Pistole to “reconsider” the decision to allow certain knives back into the cabins of commercial aircraft. In a letter dated March 11, Parker wrote, “US Airways fully supports the continuous  review and amendment of TSA policies. We also understand and support the risk-based assessment employed by the TSA. However, this review and policy amendment process is most effective when it is conducted in a collaborative way with airlines and their flight crews. In particular, seeking input before implementing a change in policy that might place out flight attendants’ safety at risk would have provided a more thoughtful path to the desired outcome of secure and safe air travel.”

Pistole is expected to defend the decision on Thursday at a House Homeland Security Committee hearing, said CNN.

What do you think? Did the TSA make the right call or not? Email me at ritcheyd@bnpmedia.com

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