US House Panel Examines Status Of Biometric IDs For Pilots, Others

04/14/2011 15:19

Aviation News

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee met Thursday to examine the failure to date of TSA and FAA to develop functional biometric capabilities for commercial pilot licenses. The oversight and investigations hearing also examined other issues relating to biometrics — including in the airport environment — and delays in their effective implementation in the transportation sector.

The committee invited representatives from TSA, FAA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology to testify. However, TSA Administrator John Pistole and Transportation Worker Identification Card (TWIC) Program Manager John Schwartz declined to appear. Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) was highly critical of TSA for skipping the hearing and pledged to work with other committees to gain TSA's testimony at future hearings.

Mica and others criticized FAA for failing to meet requirements in law that FAA-issued pilot licenses include biometrics. Peggy Gilligan, who testified for the agency, agreed that FAA has been slow to act, but added that the agency did not want to interfere or duplicate efforts underway by TSA to create a "universal ID for transportation workers."

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